He didn’t have to don a robe or take a vow of silence but Mash Brewing’s Charlie Hodgson got to be a monk for a few days this month.
The Swan Valley beer maker has secured a deal with the Benedictine brothers from New Norcia to produce their renowned Abbey Ale.
And it is in cans, which is not something usually associated with the strict disciplines of such a beer style.
While Trappist brews can only hold such a mantle if they are made in the monastery by the monks – and there are only 11 of them in the world – a beer can have the Abbey Ale title if it is brewed by Benedictine monks or under their guidance.
New Norcia, 130kms north of Perth, is Australia’s only monastic town. Over 175 years the monks have been producing their own beer, bread and olives. In recent times the beer production was leased to Malt Shovel.
However, after some heavy negotiation between Mash’s sale guru Scott Earley and Rt. Rev. Abbot John Herbert in New Norcia the brewery got a deal – and the incentive to rev up a new canning line.
“We’d been wanting to go into cans and had the machine in place for six months but had technical issues stopping us from going down that path,” Earley said.
“But it worked beautifully for Abbey Ale. We have also done the Guvnor Pale Ale (5.6%) in cans and will look a couple of others in the range very soon.”
The Sip expects the recently released India Summer Ale will also go into the new packaging.
Abbey Ale hits 7.3 per cent in the 375ml cans and presents dark gold with an almost Vintage Ale taste. The alcohol is well hidden. It is malty and biscuity as you’d expect from such a beer but the drop is a nice, neat package.
It has been a busy six months for Mash with extensions to the brewery and the release of several new beers.
Abbey Ale will become a permanent member of the Mash range.