German Monks, German Nuns, & German Beer

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November 18, 2013 by Prost Brewing

Monk Drinking

When you think of German beer, you may or may not think of the German monks and nuns who helped to develop German beer for hundreds of years, stemming all the way back to the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, monks and nuns refined the craft, essentially turning what was once a domestic chore into the professional art of brewing. With their contributions to the development of lagers, the discovery and use of hops, and their integration of sanitary, standardized brewing techniques, the monks were able to have a lasting impact upon the brewing world.

Benedictine monasteries began appearing in the 6th century when Christianity was spreading across Germany. These monasteries were not just religious congregations. Funded by feudal lords, monasteries had the resources to become centers of learning, where innovation became a central focus. Monks took an academic approach to brewing that included careful observation coupled with continuous trial and error. Recipes were recorded, ingredients were constantly being tweaked, and standardized brewing practices began to evolve in accord with the feudal lords’ instilled guidelines.

Paulaner brewer Friar Barnabas presents Prince-Elector Charles Theodore with a mug of freshly brewed Salvator-Bock.

Paulaner brewer Friar Barnabas presents Prince-Elector Charles Theodore with a mug of freshly brewed Salvator-Bock.

German monks and nuns began to put into practice the use of hops as a preservative and contributing flavor agent. Soon after they did, the use of hops in brewing spread across Europe, quickly becoming a staple ingredient for any quality brew. German monks and nuns also began brewing practices that supported new strains of yeast that could be used to make lagers, instead of the customary ales mankind had known up until then. The monks and nuns’ high quality brews were important drinks for everyone, including children, since the water at the time was unsanitary to drink.

While the brews of German monks and nuns are not as widespread as they once were, their contributions to the brewing craft still live on. Next time you sit down to enjoy one of Prost Brewing’s authentic German brews, raise a toast to the German monks and nuns who helped to make German beer (and ALL beer at large!) what it is today!

A Prost to the monks and nuns of Germany!

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