We've fought for our right to remain silent, bear arms, and party, but the right to brew one of the super-elite, monastery-based Trappist ales has eluded Americans for centuries. All that's about to change, though, because of the heroic monks at Saint Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, who are gearing up to open the first Trappist brewery in the country.
In fact, the move will make America the fourth nation ever to have one of this specially recognized breweries. Currently, only eight exist -- six in Belgium, one in The Netherlands, and another in Austria -- due to the strict guidelines. A Trappist beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, so the brothers have to be members of The Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, and production has to be under the control of the monks. BUT the brewery has to be of secondary importance, and once they've covered their basic living and monastery maintenance fees, the monks have to give any extra profits to charity. And make delicious beer.