Patersbier: The Lawnmower Beer of Trappist Monks

This might surprise you, but the monks who toil away making your favorite Belgian dark strongs and tripels aren’t typically quaffing their high-gravity creations. With strict schedules of religious observance, brewing and other daily tasks, the monks need to keep an even keel.

Instead, they brew a special light ale called patersbier (“Father’s Beer” in Dutch) to drink for sustenance, while leaving them fully capable to take on the day’s endeavors. If monk’s mowed their monastery yard (do they?), this would be the Belgian equivalent of a lawnmower beer.

Patersbier is also known as enkel, meaning “single” in Dutch. The style likely came about when monks did an additional sparge of a mash to extract leftover sugars. Once collected, it is brewed as its own beer and turned into a highly sessionable beer. This long-practiced brewing technique is known as parti-gyle.

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