Abbey Brewing Company, on the grounds of and affiliated with the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert, continues the 1300-year tradition of monastic brewing, crafting fine beers that are made with "care and prayer"®. Our dedication to quality comes from the 6th Century document (the Rule of Saint Benedict) written by Saint Benedict. It instructs each monk to bring all good works to perfection for the glory of God (Prologue:4).
A BRIEF HISTORY OF
THE BENEDICTINE ORDER
The Benedictine Order is named for Saint Benedict of Nursia (ca. 480 – 547), in Italy, who is widely considered to be the father of western monasticism. After schooling in Rome, Benedict decided to dedicate his life to the pursuit of spiritual purity by isolating himself from society. For three years, Benedict spent his life in quiet and prayer, which attracted a number of disciples.
Around 530 A.D., Benedict and his disciples established a mountain community at Monte Cassino where he lived until his death. It was here that Benedict composed his “Rules for Monks,” which is now referred to as the Rule of St. Benedict. In these rules, Benedict established precepts for monastic life, which included:
The dignity of work
The importance of self-sufficiency (as a monastery)
The practice of hospitality
In the Rule of St. Benedict enjoins the monks to seriously practice hospitality when he writes: "All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ" (Chapter 53:1). At the minimum, Benedictine hospitality guaranteed each guest safety, a place to rest, and sleep, and sustenance. Since the water in sixth century Europe was not often safe to drink, sustenance was commonly offered in the form of “liquid bread”—that is, beer.
THE RESURRECTION OF MONASTIC
BREWING IN THE NEW WORLD
In 2003, the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert on the Chama River, north of Abiquiu, New Mexico, became the first American monastery to start commercial brewing in the United States during the recent rise of craft brewing in the United States. Their first product—Monks’ Ale—was introduced in January 2005, and operations have been gradually expanding ever since.
Today, Abbey Brewing has a product line that features five core ales that are available all year-round and sold as draft and in bottles. Other seasonal ales are brewed and available only as draft. Abbey Ales®— are all developed at a small—scale commercial brewery located on the grounds of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. Some of the seasonal draft ales brewed at the Monastery are sold in limited quantities in New Mexico. Large scale production occurs in Moriarty, New Mexico where we have an Alternating Proprietorship (vs. contract brewing agreement) with our good friends at Sierra Blanca Brewing.
Monks' Ales are widely available in New Mexico as packaged beer in bottles and in draft.