For more than a century, Oregon's Mount Angel Abbey has been home to dozens of Catholic monks. Now, it's also home to their taproom.
The Mount Angel monks recently opened the Benedictine Brewery near their abbey, which is located about an hour south of Portland. The brews are all made from hops grown on their land and water from the abbey's well. Currently, the brewery runs a modest five-barrel operation and makes three beers—a helles lager, a Belgian dark ale called Black Habit, and a farmhouse ale named for St. Benedict.
Mount Angel Abbey has been brewing beer for seven years, and recently began bottling their brews. The project is helmed by Father Martin Grassel, but all of the abbey's monks contribute in some way.
Last year, the monks and other Mount Angel residence hand raised the building's frame, which is made out of local timber. In accordance with Benedictine principles, the taproom has no TVs and doesn't play any music.
"You would think, 'Wow, that sounds kind of boring,' but people come here for conversation, " says Jennifer Baxley, who left her job as a school teacher in South Carolina to become the taproom manager six weeks ago.
Benedictine Brewery held its grand opening in late September, where some of the abbey's monks performed a keyboard and percussion cover of "Lean on Me," as reported by The Oregonian.
Baxley says the brewery's slogan "Taste and believe" is only tangentially religious.
"It kind of speaks for itself," she says. "Taste it and you're going to believe that it's a fantastic beer."
Benedictine Brewery is now open Wednesday through Sunday. Check the brewery's website for seasonal hours.