Doppelbock: The Monks’ Secret to Winter Bliss

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February 7, 2014 by Prost Brewing

Monk Drinking

If you are a devoted German beer lover, you are probably already well aware of the monks’ integral hand in making German beer what it is today. Among the great achievements of these German beer-making monks is the beer referred to within the monastic order as “Fastenbier” (a.k.a. “Lenten Beer”), presently known among modern day Germans as “Doppelbock.”

This specialty beer was first brewed by the Paulaner monks, a group who set up shop far from their homeland of Italy, essentially brewing beer right from the start. Combining their methodical and dedicated way of doing things with their need for a form of “liquid bread” that would serve as their only source of nourishment throughout the Lenten season, these monks came up with an exceptionally strong beer brimming with plenty of maltiness and very little bitterness.

When the monks tasted their final product, they too were pleased, but soon became worried that perhaps this exceptionally tasty beer was a little too delicious and pleasurable for it to be considered a “Lenten” beer. After all, Lent was supposed to be a time of sacrifice for the monks. Unsure of what to do, the monks sought out approval from the head of the church, the pope himself. Sending the beer all the way to Italy for the pope to get a taste test took time, and it was this time (not to mention extremely adverse traveling conditions) that changed this delicious beer into something almost undrinkable that surely could only be drunk as a form of religious sacrifice. Very pleased with such a vile tasting beer, the pope sent his enthusiastic approval, and the beer that tasted to the monks like a sweet nectar was now their Lenten beer of choice.

Despite this beer’s centrality within the monastic life, the lay public did not have access to the sweet, papally approved brew. Feudal law forbade it, only allowing other non-monastic establishments to sell beer. Thus, this beer remained a secret pleasure among the monks for decades before a license was finally given to the monks in 1780, enabling them to sell their strong brew commercially, ultimately ensuring centuries of winter bliss to German beer drinkers everywhere. Centuries later and miles upon miles, even all the way across the great Atlantic sea, Colorado German beer lovers can enjoy the very same beer that was approved by the pope so long ago!

With a few cases of this brew, you will be armed with the same strong form of “liquid bread” nourishment that the monks once depended upon to carry them through the season of Lent. With this big and malty brew at your side, there can be no doubt that you will successfully make it through this frigid Colorado winter weather, unscathed by the encroaching winter blues! Hurry in as this winter seasonal is in short supply!

Once again, we must “Prost!” to those good ole German monks for finally letting us on to another one of their brewing secrets!


File:Barnabas Still 1907 Beiträge zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Bierbrauerei.png

Valentin Stephan Still (monk Barnabas; 1750-1795), German monk and brewer


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