Wherein Fr. Z promotes monkish beer! – UPDATE

UPDATE 5 February:

From the the chant monks, the beer monks of Norcia…

This week, the first major shipment of Birra Nursia left the walls of the monastery and of Norcia and began its long journey to the United States. If you have already placed an order for Birra Nursia, your beer is on its way.

Imagine the journey the beer must take, out of the foothills of the Sibillini mountains, across the Atlantic and over highways and byways of America’s heartland just to reach your door. A great deal of love and prayer went in to the production of this beer. Be assured that each bottle was produced by the monks themselves. The monks are proud that Birra Nursia is a monastic product from start to finish.



___ ORIGINAL Jan 29, 2016 ___


Did you know that the last entry in the famous Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary, zythum, is a word for beer?

Last October I was at a benefit in NYC for the Benedictine Monks in Norcia, Italy. They have revived a monastic presence in the place of St. Benedict’s birth and they have started a brewery.  At that event, I received a couple bottles of their exquisite beer, one of which I still have. I’ve been saving it.

However, I may just crack it open now, because their superb beer will be soon available to you in these USA.  You can order it at birranursia.com.

And, what’s more, you can subscribe as part of their Brewmonks’ Club to have beer regularly sent to you.

May I make a suggestion?  After signing up for your own membership, how about getting a membership for the priest or priests at your local parish?   A subscription or two might help Father get a men’s club going, such as the one at the parish where I help on weekends, the monthly Pints and Pipes meeting.  As G.K. Chesterton said, “In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.” Our Pints and Pipes usually also involves another P, such as Pizza, or in the summer months, Pistols – before the Pints, of course.  As Chesterton also wrote in Orthodoxy, “We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them.”  And, we should enjoy these activities in the right order.  But I digress…

A 1 year subscription has two options: 1 case of 12 bottles or 1 half-case of 6.   They also send a case of their glasses.  I have two.  Like the monks, they are not delicate.  They both survived travel in my suitcase.

Drinking your potables from the properly shaped glass can make a difference in your perception of the flavors.  Yes, it’s true.

Also, the bottles are large format, 750ml.  There is a blonde and a dark.  Descriptions HERE.  They are both great.  I’ve had both, both in events for the monks in these USA and also in Italy.  Once, I was with a pilgrimage group which went to Norcia. The monks put out for us their beer along with local sausages and cheeses, etc.  It was magnificent.

Just for fun, a few pics from that visit.  First, a tour of their brewery.







Brewmonks’ Club



I was informed that they have a new glass for the Brewmonk’s Club.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 5.20.57 PM

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Cafea Fruor says:

    Nursia Beer – so good you’ve got to nurse ya’ beer slowly.

  2. locutus465 says:

    I look forward to trying some. Always something of a mystique about beers made by religious orders. Anyone who knows their beer (at least) or is Catholic and knows the middle ages knows we can thank the religious for the many wonderful beers we enjoy today. For me personally, it’s like getting to the root of something greatly enjoy.

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    Cafea fruor: that was good.

    Speaking of men’s groups a buddy of mine, former logistics/supply officer, lives in a rural parish. Four of their twelve meetings a year are dedicated, after prayer, to prepping followed by a pint, cigars and a pipe or two. They’ve made remarkable progress in half a decade or so, and they keep things low-key. The wives are happy their husbands have productive hobbies, and have their own prepping going.

    Their priest raised an eyebrow at first, but is now a fine shot. During my last visit, assisting with tactical matters, a mechanic demonstrated a nifty little backyard forge for casting bullets and arrowheads or more routine items such as nails and pipe scrapers.

  4. John Nolan says:

    Bene+dic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisiae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi: et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti, ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corporis, et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

    [Rituale Romanum]

  5. Stephen Matthew says:

    If memory serves, there are legal restrictions in a number of US states that prohibit mail order of alcoholic beverages. In my own state the rules on such things are extremely backwards, convoluted, and inhospitable.

  6. Charles E Flynn says:

    For these Benedictine monks, to brew well-made beer is to pray, by the Catholic News Agency, at the Catholic World Report.

  7. spock says:

    Ordinarily, I would say that “Italian beer” doesn’t make any sense, like saying “German Tacos” or “Polish Spaghetti”; something of a non-sequitor. I have a good friend that likes to go to a German Restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day which is also illogical. That said, given that they are copying Belgian Trappist ales, it’s likely good stuff and may be a violation of SPOCK’S law of beer which states that in general, beer get’s better the further North in the world you go.

  8. Imrahil says:

    There is no such thing as Spock’s law, or if there is, then Spock has never passed Bavaria’s border into the rest of Germany.

    Enter three men into a bar, one from Munich, one from Cologne and one from Düsseldorf. The Colognian orders one Kölsch (brand of beer popular in Cologne). The Düsseldorfer orders one Alt (brand of beer popular in Düsseldorf). The Bavarian orders a coke-mix (that is, coke mixed with orange lemonade). “If you don’t drink beer, neither will I.”

    Speaking of Bavaria, monks and beer, the Benedictines at Weltenburg brew some fantastic stuff.

  9. Charles E Flynn says:

    Here is a persistent URL for the Catholic News Agency story:

    For these Benedictine monks, to brew well-made beer is to pray

  10. Maltese says:

    Spock, Monk’s Ale, brewed in sunny dry New Mexico, is excellent too. I suspect it has a few advantages over those beers originating in our more northern areas, particularly St. Louis. Actually, Busch and Budweiser do carry on the German heritage of watery beer, which are of Lutheran taste. All of the best beers in the world are brewed by Catholics, whatever the clime of their origin.

  11. Tony Phillips says:

    I’m not so sure about the idea of Benedictine beer. They talk too much.
    My favourite remains Orval, brewed by Trappists.

  12. JPK says:

    The old Franziskaner Brewery in Munich began during the High Middle Ages, when Franciscans from Italy opened a monastery in downtown Munich. Originally, they brewed for themselves. One such ale was developed during the 16th Century to be consumed during Advent and Lent. This beer had to be fortifying for the brothers ate no solid food during these days of fasting. Served in 1/2 gallon steins, the beer had a very high starting and finished gravity; ergo, it was below 3% ABV. To offset the cloying sweetness of the unfermented malted barely, the monks added copious amounts of hops and spices. The beer was consumed in the morning and evening. This beer eventually became the famous Bock Bier.

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