Thursday, 5 November 2009

Beer for monks rather than punks

Was talking to a chap at Devon Earth brewery the other day, a newish small operation based in Paignton, and was rather tickled to hear that he brews beer for monks (not punks). Neither does he brew like a monk, sadly. Instead a barrel of his Devon Earth bitter gets sent to the Benedictine brothers at Buckfastleigh Abbey, which can be found on the southern edge of Dartmoor (I sometimes drop in when I’m passing and pick up bottles of Andech’s superb beers, with the Spezial being a particular favourite; they also sell Chimay). It’s also the home of Buckfast Tonic Wine, known to one and all with a raging thirst and an address that approximates to ‘no fixed abode’ as Buckie. What do the monks prefer as their daily tipple I wonder and is there anywhere else in the UK where a cloistered community gets beer made for them — or are they the only ones (I mean the monks not the Another Girl, Another Planet band)?


  1. Actually, the name "Buckie" is only used by onlookers. The people who drink it just call it "wine".

    That's interesting the abbey sells Chimay and Andechs. Is there some sort of Europe-wide reciprocal monastic booze retailing cooperation? I wonder what the Germans and Belgians make of Buckfast Wine?

  2. Barm, that’s interesting, is it condescending to use the phrase? I’ve never had it myself, just heard it been mentioned and read about it, but I do remember street drinkers in Cambridge have certain words for their tipple (and drugs) in the late 70s (none of which I can remember); a case of media invention?
    I don’t know if there is an ecunemical approach to this retailing, it’s always been a joy to be able to get the Andechs beers (not the whole range though, just the Weiss, Doppel and Spezial) whenever I travel to Plymouth. As for what the Belgians and Germans woudl make of it, it would depend who was drinking it; sweetness is rife through Europe these days.