German Beer’s Holy Beginnings

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August 30, 2013 by Prost Brewing

Many German beer lovers might attest to the “holiness” of a quality German brew. However, they might not know the true story underlying German beer’s holy beginnings. Indeed, German beer has some of its oldest and deepest roots within the monasteries that began to craft their first brews in the 10th and 11th centuries A.D. With the monk’s dedication to learning that bred a scientific way of thinking, monks were able to slowly refine their skills in brewing, eventually resulting in a rather refined art that changed the practice of regular brewing into “craft brewing.”

Monks brewing

In the “golden age” of monastic brewing around the 10th and 11th centuries A.D., there were around 500 monastery breweries spread across the lands of Germany, each producing their own unique brew. 300 of these monastery breweries were located in the southeast corner of Germany known as Bavaria, a region where much of today’s German breweries still reside. The beer the monks made was good and cheap, and came in the form of an ale (warm fermentation with top fermenting yeast). The quality matched with its affordability lead to a sure formula for success.

Monk Brewing

Of course, in the beginning the monks did not even charge for their quality brews, sharing their bread and beer with the poor and the weary traveler looking for shelter. However, as production increased along with their beer’s popularity among people neither poor nor traveling, monks began to make their beer for profit. When they weren’t selling it, the monks were drinking it. Monks found beer to serve as an important part in their diet, especially during times of fasting when solid food was not permitted and “liquid bread” (i.e. beer) stepped in as the filler. No doubt, the monks must have rejoiced in fasting on their brews, thinking to themselves of how beer turns fasting into a beautiful thing.

So the next time you enjoy a fresh brew at Prost, letting the beer satisfy and refresh your senses in a way that can only be described as most holy, remember German beer’s holy beginnings. Without the dedication of the monks from centuries ago, German beer would not be what it is today, and it certainly would not be quite as “holy” or divine in nature.

Here’s a Prost to the monks, the original German craft brewers! Prost!

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