Monks & Beer: 13 Paintings by Eduard von Grützner

Listers, Eduard Theodor Ritter von Grützner (May 26, 1846 – April 2, 1925) was a German painter and professor of art especially noted for his genre paintings of monks. Grützner was, along with Carl Spitzweg and Franz von Defregger, one of Munich’s leading genre painters in the second half of the 19th century. The paintings of Grützner are best known for their combination of detailed academic rendering with humorous and anecdotal subject matter, often depicting monks drinking.1


Other Lists on SPL


  Eduard Grutzner (1846-1925), Monch Mit Bierkrug. Oil on canvas.
Eduard Grutzner (1846-1925), Monch Mit Bierkrug. Oil on canvas.

In der Studierstube.
In der Studierstube.

Beschauliche Ruhe.
Beschauliche Ruhe.


Das Kartenspiel.
Das Kartenspiel.

Lesender Mönch mit Weinglas.
Lesender Mönch mit Weinglas.

Mönch bei der Weinprobe.
Mönch bei der Weinprobe.

Nach schwerer Sitzung.
Nach schwerer Sitzung.

Moine dégustant.
Moine dégustant.

Kardinal mit singenden und trinkenden Weissen Vätern.
Kardinal mit singenden und trinkenden Weissen Vätern.

Das Backhändl.
Das Backhändl.


Benediktinermönch mit Wein beim Frühschoppen.
Benediktinermönch mit Wein beim Frühschoppen.

  1. Taken verbatim from the Eduard Grutzner Wikipedia page; all paintings were taken from Wikicommons. []

Demons, Beer, & Breastfeeding – The Top 14 Catholic Lists of 2014

Listers, thank you for another incredible year. The popular lists of 2014 are certainly diverse. Prayers for your workday, types of demonic activity, and sacred images of breastfeeding are all among this year’s finalists. The following is the third annual “top” list in the history of St. Peter’s List (“SPL”). To compare the popular trends of 2014 to past years, see Catholic Countdown: The Top 20 Lists of 2012 and Top 10 Most Popular Catholic Lists of 2013.


Father Amorth, exorcist for the Diocese of Rome via Trailer - Amorth L'esorcista,
Father Amorth, exorcist for the Diocese of Rome via Trailer – Amorth L’esorcista,

14. Fr. Amorth on the 4 Types of Curses

Father Gabriele Amorth claims to have performed over 70,000 exorcisms from 1986 to 2010. The good priest serves as an exorcist for the Diocese of Rome and is the founder and honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists. He has written two books: An Exorcist Tells His Story & An Exorcist: More Stories. And yes, his favorite movie is The Exorcist. In An Exorcist Tells His Story, the good father lays out the four types of curses:

1. Black Magic – Witchcraft – Satanic Rites
2. Curses, Simply
3. The Evil Eye
4. The Spell (aka Malefice or Hex)

The exorcist explains, “Curse is a generic word. It is commonly defined as ‘harming others through demonic intervention’… In my opinion, spells and witchcraft are two different types of curses. I do not claim to give a comprehensive explanation, and I rely solely on my own experience when I defend the following forms of curses.”


Ordinary Form, Ad Orientem. - Southern Orders,
Ordinary Form, Ad Orientem. – Southern Orders,

13. Facing God: 10 Advantages of Ad Orientem

SPL was delighted that a liturgical list made the top 14 lists of 2014, especially this one exploring the benefits of Ad Orientem. The list explains the basics of ad orientem, lists the benefits of the ancient practice as articulated by a wonderful priest, and gives several “bonus” ad orientem memes. The list explains, “Ad Orientem is Latin for to the east and refers to the direction the priest faces during the mass. Catholic churches are traditionally built facing the East, because, as Cardinal Ratzinger taught, this direction reflects the ‘cosmic sign of the rising sun which symbolizes the universality of God.’ The priest facing the altar is also referred to as Ad Deum, which is Latin for to God… While the ancient liturgies did speak of the priest turning and “facing the people” during certain parts of the mass, the concept of celebrating the entire mass versus populum is arguably an invention of the 1970’s, an invention that stands in direct contradistinction to the Church’s ancient traditions.”


Musical Notation Old Book

12. Glory of Rome: 5 Latin Hymns Every Catholic Should Know

Though published in August of 2012, this list of hymns in Latin gained immense popularity in 2014. In contrast, its counterpart article covering the five English hymns every Catholic should know – which was the nineteenth most popular list in 2012 and the ninth in 2013 – failed to make the 2014 list. Moreover, the third installment of SPL’s study of hymns, a collection covering Byzantine hymns, has yet to break into any annual top list. As with the ad orientem list, SPL is delighted to see lists with a liturgical focus rise in popularity, especially one revolving around the importance of Latin.


Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Chile.  Figura de la Virgen del Carmen de Chile, en el Templo Votivo de Maipú. La imagen fue donada por la Sra. Rosalía Mujíca de Gutiérrez el 16 de diciembre de 1956.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Chile. Figura de la Virgen del Carmen de Chile, en el Templo Votivo de Maipú. La imagen fue donada por la Sra. Rosalía Mujíca de Gutiérrez el 16 de diciembre de 1956.

11. The 6 Things You Should Know about the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

“Modern heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular, they decry it as so much trifling nonsense,” says St. Alphonsus. Published during January of 2013, SPL’s list on the Brown Scapular explains the devotion, the marian history behind the practice, and the inseparable relationship between the Brown Scapular and the Holy Rosary. One of the more unique aspects of the Brown Scapular is the promise behind it. The list explains, “On July 16th 1251 the Blessed Mary made this promise to Saint Simon Stock: ‘Take this Scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.’ She continues, ‘Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.'” Though incredibly common among most Latin Mass communities, the devotion has plummeted after the Second Vatican Council and is almost non-existent among the Novus Ordo parishes. Since the list is written as a primer to the Brown Scapular, it makes an excellent way to introduce your fellow parishioners or your entire parish to this wonderful devotion.


Anónimo Inferno (ca. 1520)
Anónimo Inferno (ca. 1520)

10. The 6 Types of Extraordinary Demonic Activity

The wisdom of Father Amorth finds another place amongst the top lists of 2014. Published in 2011, the list categorizing different types of extraordinary demonic activity was among the first lists to be published on SPL. The good exorcist first distinguishes among ordinary and extraordinary demonic activity. The former is simply temptation, while the latter can fall into any of the six different categories listed below:

1. External Physical Pain Caused by Satan
2. Demonic Possession
3. Diabolical Oppression
4. Diabolic Obsession
5. Diabolic Infestation
6. Diabolical Subjugation, or Dependence

Fr. Amorth’s work strives to remind everyone – especially priests and bishops – that demonic activity is real, and those suffering under its effects should be able to find help within Holy Mother Church. He calls upon the Church to restore the Office of the Exorcist to every diocese, and he reminds the faithful that the best defense against the demonic is the sacramental life.


Mary bw banner

9. The 8 Prayers Every Catholic Should Know in Latin

Standing as the twelfth most popular list in 2012 and the seventh in 2013, the collection of fundamental Latin prayers remains a mainstay on SPL. The introduction of the list gives a brief insight into the importance of Latin in the Roman Catholic Church – In 1978 Pope St. John Paul II said, “We exhort you all to lift up high the torch of Latin which is even today a bond of unity among peoples of all nations.” Even Vatican II and Pope John XXIII lauded Latin and asked that it remain the universal language of the Church; however, today the Roman Church has turned its back on Latin and blamed it on the ever-shifting spectre or “spirit” of Vatican II. In support of Latin as the sacred language of the Latin rite, SPL collected 14 quotes on the importance of Latin in the Church, which includes many quotes from Vatican II documents and from post-Vatican II popes. Continuing in this proper understanding of Sacred Tradition, it is only fitting that the listers have a list to help them develop their use of Latin. The collected prayers are all the prayers one would need to pray the Holy Rosary in Latin.


Nichols Punch Meme 2

8. When Santa Punched a Heretic in the Face: 13 Memes on St. Nicholas

Published in 2013 and skyrocketing to the most popular list of that year, the SPL list on Santa Claus recounts the story of St. Nicholas slapping the heretic Arius at the Council of Nicea, AD 325. The universal draw of this story is evident in the fact this list is virtually only shared throughout Christmastime, but remains one of the most popular articles on SPL. Along with humorous memes, the list articulates the historic account of “Santa Claus.” According to the introduction, “St. Nicholas was born in AD 270 and became the Bishop of Myra in Lycia (modern day Turkey). He died on December 6, 343 leaving a legacy that would grow into a strong and multifaceted cult. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of ‘Saint Nikolaos.’ Although he is usually referred to as Sinterklaas, he is also known as De Goedheiligman (The Good Holy Man), Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas) or simply as De Sint (The Saint). His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints. The actual feast day of St. Nicholas is December 6th.” Though wrapped in a lighthearted package, the list helps educate the Faithful on the actual narrative of St. Nicholas in order to better participate in the full tradition of Christmastime.


St. Josemaria Escriva.
St. Josemaria Escriva.

7. St. Josemaria’s 17 Signs of a Lack of Humility

Published in early of 2013, this list focused on humility rose to the third most popular list of that year. As the introduction implies, the ascension of Pope Francis to the Throne of St. Peter was the main impetus for the article and for the interest surrounding the list. His Holiness Pope Francis has made the Church contemplate the virtue of humility and the qualities of true humility. St. Josemaria’s list is not an easy read. In fact, the list could operate as an examination of conscience in the area of pride. As the list states, humility is a virtue which we all ought to develop to bring ourselves in greater conformity with Christ as we seek “to temper and restrain the mind, lest it tend to high things immoderately.”


Credit: La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group, edited.
Credit: La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group, edited.

6. Our Lady of Milk: 20 Images of Mother Mary Nursing

Finishing as the second most popular list of 2013, the collection of images of Mother Mary nursing remains one of the most controversial lists on SPL. Despite the firestorm of opinions – whether over breastfeeding in general or nudity in Sacred Art – SPL’s original rationale for researching Our Lady of Milk remains strong – to support the beauty and importance of breastfeeding. As the 2013 introduction to the list explains: One factor was certainly the growing societal criticism of mothers who breastfed their children in public. The criticism of mothers breastfeeding had grown so loud within Western culture that even Pope Francis felt the need to publicly support mothers breastfeeding in public. The Holy Pontiff stated:

“There are so many children that cry because they are hungry. At the Wednesday General Audience the other day there was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few months old. The child was crying its eyes out as I came past. The mother was caressing it. I said to her: “Madam, I think the child’s hungry.” “Yes, it’s probably time…,” she replied. “Please give it something to eat!” I said. She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat! That woman had milk to give to her child; we have enough food in the world to feed everyone.”

Another factor is certainly North America’s Puritan culture being absolutely inexperienced with images of Mary’s breast. Though common in Latino/Hispanic cultures both in South America and in Europe, the images are quite foreign to many inside the United States.


Cardinal Burke visits the Sisters Adorers in Switzerland.
Cardinal Burke visits the Sisters Adorers in Switzerland.

5. Cardinal Burke: 15 Photos of this Wondrous Prince of the Church

As 2014 draws to a close, no other list has generated a more hate-filled, argumentative, and polarizing comment section than our simple photo gallery of His Eminence Cardinal Burke. Originally published in 2012, the list caught on fire toward the latter half of 2014 as rumors fueled expectations that Cardinal Burke would be demoted from Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. In November of 2014, Pope Francis did in fact remove Cardinal Burke from his position and appoint him as the Cardinal Patronus of the Military Order of Malta. The traditionalist communities saw this move as nothing less than the most humiliating thing done to a Cardinal by a Pope in modern times, while the so-called progressive camps openly cheered the move as a clear papal rebuke of Cardinal Burke’s tone and style. As far as SPL goes, His Eminence Cardinal Burke is still held in utmost respect, and we agree with Pope Benedict XVI that good Cardinal is one of the best amongst the College. Hopefully, his new relationship with the Order of Malta will provide him with more time and resources to write and travel.


Angelus by Jean-François Millet.
Angelus by Jean-François Millet.

4. The 8 Prayers to Help You through the Workday

Another wonderful list of prayers makes it into the top lists of 2014. Published in 2012 and flying under the radar until 2014, the article submits practical prayers that could be said throughout the workday. SPL author Catherine explains, “Ora et Labora (“Pray and Work” to the layman), the motto of the Benedictine order shouldn’t just be used for those called to the consecrated life, but it needs to be ascribed for all Catholics in every walk of life, especially those in the workforce. I recently entered into the realm of the working mother, and I can honestly say that I have never been so busy in all my life. Being a working mother I have discovered that balancing the various duties I have between work and home can drive a woman to the point of screaming at the top of her lungs “SERENITY NOW!!!!” (If you are a Seinfeld fan you know what I am talking about).” Memorize these prayers or bookmark this list on your work computer, and may the peace of Christ be with you always and everywhere.


Father Amorth, exorcist for the Diocese of Rome via Trailer - Amorth L'esorcista,
Father Amorth, exorcist for the Diocese of Rome via Trailer – Amorth L’esorcista,

3. The 5 Prayers Recommended by an Exorcist to Combat Evil

Without question, 2014 was a good year for the wisdom of Father Amorth. The third and final list drawn from his experience is a list of prayers that can help a person defend themselves from evil. The prayers are as follows:

1. Prayer Against Malefice from the Greek Ritual
2. Anima Christi
3. Prayer Against Every Evil
4. Prayer for Inner Healing
5. Prayer for Deliverance

In his book An Exorcist Tells His Story, Fr. Amorth stresses that the number one protection from evil is the Sacrament of Confession and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Often times people want esoteric rituals to deliver them from evil, when in reality what they need is to become right with God. Along with regular Confession and reception of the Holy Eucharist, these prayers should be coupled with Our Lord’s Prayer and the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.


The Trappist Beers via Robin Vanspauwen/Bram Weyens
The Trappist Beers via Robin Vanspauwen/Bram Weyens

2. The 10 Authentic Trappist Ales

It is hard not to love beer made by monks. Originally posted in 2011 among the first wave of lists to hit SPL, the list climbed to the tenth most popular list of 2012. In 2013, the list included three new Trappist ales, and the expanded list landed at sixth in 2013. Continuing its growth in popularity, the list comes in as the second most popular list of 2014. The list explains what a Trappist ale is and the three conditions an ale must meet to be accepted into the official Trappist Association:

1. The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks.
2. The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
3. The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.

The list then goes on to summarize each individual brewery that has been accepted into the official association and makes Trappist ale.


A selection of the front of the St. Benedict's Medal.
A selection of the front of the St. Benedict’s Medal.

1. The 7 Things You Must Know about St. Benedict’s Medal

In 2012, the top list was a collection of original SPL graphics that were designed to fight against the HHS mandate and other government overreaches into the life of the Church. In 2013, the top list was the story of how St. Nicholas punched the heretic Arius right in the face. In 2014, the top list is a primer on the incredible history and power of the St. Benedict’s Medal. Published in 2012, the list started slow but has steadily risen as one of the primary online articles explaining the medal. In 2013, it was the fourth most popular list, and in 2014, it well outpaced the other contenders to become the most popular list on SPL in 2014.


It is difficult to grasp the significance of the medal until one has an understanding of all the lettering. Both the front and back of the medal are rich in symbolism. Regarding the front, the list explains: One side of the medal bears an image of St. Benedict, holding a cross in the right hand and the Holy Rule in the left. On the one side of the image is a cup, on the other a raven, and above the cup and the raven are inscribed the words: Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (Cross of the Holy Father Benedict). Round the margin of the medal stands the legend Ejus in obitu nostro praesentia muniamus (May we at our death be fortified by his presence). The list further articulates the history of the medal, the entirety of its symbolism, and what evils the medal is used to ward against. St. Benedict, patron against poison and witchcraft, pray for us.


Thank you listers for an incredible year. God bless.

The 10 Authentic Trappist Monk Beers

In 1997, eight Trappist abbeys founded the International Trappist Association (ITA) to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from abusing the Trappist name. Today there are only 10 authentic Trappist ales in the world.

Logo of the International Trappist Association

International Trappist Association & Standards

In 1997, eight Trappist abbeys—six from Belgium (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle and Achel), one from the Netherlands (Koningshoeven) and one from Germany (Mariawald) – founded the International Trappist Association (ITA) to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from abusing the Trappist name. This private association created a logo that is assigned to goods (cheese, beer, wine, etc.) that respect precise production criteria. For the beers, these criteria are the following:

  1. The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks.
  2. The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
  3. The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.

This association has a legal standing, and its logo gives to the consumer some information and guarantees about the produce.1


The Authentic Trappist Product Ales


Westmalle Logo via Westmalle Brewery

1. Westmalle

The Trappist abbey in Westmalle (officially called Abdij Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van het Heilig Hart van Jezus) was founded 6 June 1794, but the community was not elevated to the rank of Trappist abbey until 22 April 1836. Martinus Dom, the first abbot, decided the abbey would brew its own beer, and the first beer was brewed on 1 August 1836 and first imbibed on 10 December 1836. The pioneer brewers were Father Bonaventura Hermans and Albericus Kemps.

The first beer was described as light in alcohol and rather sweet. By 1856, the monks had added a second beer: the first strong brown beer. This brown beer is today considered the first double (dubbel, in Dutch). The current Dubbel is derived from a recipe first brewed in 1926. Local sales began in 1856 and the oldest registered sale was on 1 January 1861. The brewery was enlarged and rebuilt in 1865 based on the example set by the Trappists of Forges (nearby Chimay). Father Ignatius van Ham joined the brewer team. Further commercialisation and sales to traders commenced in 1921.

In 1933 a complete new brewery was built and in 1934, the brewery brewed a strong pale ale of 9.5% abv giving it the name Tripel – the first modern use of the name. The brewery was remodeled in 1991. It currently has a bottling capacity of 45,000 bottles per hour, and yearly output of 120,000 hL (in 2004). The majority of the workers in the brewery are no longer monks, but secular staff brought in from outside. There are 22 monks and 40 outside staff.2


The abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren via The Official Website

2. Westvleteren

Trappist monks from the Catsberg monastery, located in France, founded the St Sixtus monastery in 1831. In 1838, the brewing at Westvleteren commenced. In 1850, some of the monks founded the Notre-Dame de Scourmont monastery, which also brews a Trappist beer. During World Wars I and II, the Westvleteren brewery continued to operate, albeit at a lower capacity. The brewery was the only Trappist one to retain the copper vessels throughout the wars—the other breweries had the copper salvaged by the Germans for their war efforts.

In WWI this was primarily due to the abbey not being occupied by the Germans, but instead was caring for wounded allied troops. In 1931, the abbey began selling beer to the general public, having only served beer to guests and visitors up until that time. In 1946, the St. Bernardus brewery in nearby Watou was granted a licence to brew beer under the St Sixtus name. This agreement ended in 1992; St. Bernardus still brews beers of similar styles, but under their own name. That same year, the abbey opened its new brewery to replace the older equipment.

The brewery currently employs three secular workers for various manual labour tasks, however the primary brewing is done by the monks only. It is the only Trappist brewery where the monks still do all of the brewing. Of the 26 Cistercians who reside at the abbey, five monks run the brewery, with an additional five who assist during bottling.

In June 2005, when Westvleteren 12 was again highlighted as “Best Beer in the World” in a bi-annual competition on, news organizations followed this up and articles appeared in the international press, highlighting the beer ranking and the unusual business policies.3


Achel Trappist Ale via Crossroads Magazine

3. Achel

Achel brewery or Brouwerij der Sint-Benedictusabdij de Achelse Kluis is a Belgian Trappist brewery, and the smallest of the seven currently approved Trappist breweries. It is located in the Abbey of Saint Benedict in the Belgian municipality of Achel. It brews five trappist beers.

The history of the brewery goes back to 1648, when Dutch monks built a chapel in Achel. The chapel became an abbey in 1686, but was destroyed during the period of the French Revolution. In 1844, the ruins were rebuilt by monks from Westmalle, and various farming activities began. The first beer to be brewed on the site was the Patersvaatje in 1852, and 19 years later in 1871, the site became a Trappist monastery, with beer brewing a regular activity.

In 1914 during World War I, the monks left the abbey due to German occupation. The Germans dismantled the brewery in 1917 to salvage the approximately 700 kg of copper. In 1998 the monks decided to begin brewing again. Monks from the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle and Rochefort Abbey assisted in the building of the new brewery. In 2001, the brewery released the Achel 8° beers.

Like all other Trappist breweries, the beers are sold in order to support the monastery and charities.4


The Chimay Selection via

4. Chimay

Chimay Brewery (“Bières de Chimay”) is a beer brewery in Chimay, southern Hainaut, Belgium. The brewery is located in the Scourmont Abbey, a Trappist monastery, and is one of the seven breweries worldwide that produce Trappist beer. They make three widely distributed ales: Chimay Rouge, Chimay Bleue, and Chimay Blanche; and they make one patersbier exclusively for the monks. The monastery also makes four varieties of cheese.

The brewery was founded inside Scourmont Abbey, in the Belgian municipality of Chimay in 1862. The brewery produces three widely distributed ales and a patersbier exclusively for the monks; they are known as Trappist beers because they are made in a Trappist monastery. It was the first brewery to use the Trappist Ale designation on its labels.

As with all other Trappist breweries, the beer is sold only for financial support of the monastery and good causes. The brewery business pays rent for use of the property within the abbey, which is used to support the monastic community. The majority of the profit from the sale of the beer is distributed to charities and for community development around the region. As of 2007, sales figures for Chimay products exceeded $50 million per year.

The water for the beers is drawn from a well located inside the monastery walls. The filtered solids from the beer mash are recycled into livestock feed which is given to the same cows that produce the milk for Chimay cheeses. The beer is transported from the monastery to the bottling plant 12 km away, which can fill 40,000 bottles per hour, of which many are returns. The beer is then refermented in the bottle for three weeks before being shipped around the world. Fifty percent of Chimay beer production is sold on the export markets.

The brewing plant was updated in 1988, and as of 2005 produced 12 megalitres annually.5


The Rochefort Beers via Wikipedia

5. Rochefort

The brewery is located inside the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, near the town of Rochefort, and has been brewing beer since 1595. There are approximately 15 monks resident at the monastery. The monks are very secretive about the brewing process and the brewery is not open to the public, therefore much of the information publicly known about the brewery comes from only a few sources.

Like many strong Belgian beers, those produced at Rochefort age well and can be cellared for at least five years whilst maintaining quality. Each of these beers is brewed to the same recipe, with the only difference being the alcoholic content.The water for the beers is drawn from a well located inside the monastery walls.

As with all other Trappist breweries, the beer is only sold in order to financially support the monastery and some other charitable causes. The monks will not increase production based on demand or profit motives, but only enough to support themselves, resulting in a fairly limited supply of beer. In practice, there is currently no shortage through regular channels.6


Orval via flickr Bernt Rostad

6. Orval

Orval Brewery (French: Brasserie d’Orval) is a Belgian trappist brewery located within the walls of the Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval in the Gaume region of Belgium. The brewery produces two beers, which are marketed as trappist beer, Orval and Petite Orval.

Evidence of brewing goes back to the earliest days of the monastery. A document written by the abbot in 1628 directly refers to the consumption of beer and wine by the monks. The last of the brewers to be a monk was Brother Pierre, up until the 1793 fire. In 1931 the present day brewery was built, employing lay people and intended to provide a source of funds for the monastery reconstruction. It was designed by Henry Vaes, who also designed the distinctive Orval beer glass. The first beer was shipped from the brewery on 7 May 1932, and was sold in barrels rather than the bottles of today. Orval was the first Trappist beer to be sold nationally around Belgium.7


Koningshoeven Beers via Wikipedia: Ludovic Péron

7. Koningshoeven

De Koningshoeven Brewery (Brouwerij de Koningshoeven) is a Dutch Trappist brewery founded in 1884 within the walls of the abbey Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koningshoeven in Berkel-Enschot (near Tilburg).

The abbey opened a brewery inside the monastery in 1884 in order to finance the monastery and contribute to charitable causes. Despite this goal, the brewery was run as a commercial enterprise. The abbey owned several bars in the area and produced lager under its own “Trappist” brand as well as contract brewing for several private labels. In 1969, the abbey licensed the brewing operations to the Artois Brewery (now InBev). In 1980 the deal with Artois ended, and the monks went back to brewing themselves, this time a top fermented beer which had been made in limited quantities since 1950s only. Over time the brewery introduced more varieties, first with Dubbel and Tripel in 1987, then in 1992 they introduced Blond. Between 1993 and 2000, the brewery also marketed a brand called Enkel. The brewery also produces the world’s only Trappist witbier. The brewery also used to produce the Jopen beer.The brewery started exporting in 1985, and in 1989 the brewery was modernised.

From 1980 until 1999, the brewery was largely run by the monks. Due to the difficulty of the ageing monks continuing to operate the brewery, a limited liability company was set up as a subsidiary of the large commercial brewer, Bavaria. In 1999 the new company began to take over day to day operations, renting the buildings and equipment from the abbey.

As a result of this agreement, a dispute arose with the International Trappist Association, the body that governs the labelling of goods as Trappist. They claimed that this new method of operation was against the regulations that permitted the beer to display the Authentic Trappist Product logo. Whilst the beer continued to be brewed within the abbey walls, the arrangement with Bavaria was felt to be too commercialised. As a result, the brewery withdrew their use of the logo on 1 December 1999. However, the brewery continued to label the beer as Trappistenbier.

After a lengthy study by all parties, and a review of the agreement between the abbey and brewery, the beers were granted the right to display the logo again as of September 9, 2005. As part of this settlement, the monks have taken a more active control of the brewery day to day operations, working several hours each day.8


This post was updated on December 20, 2013 to include three new additions to the official list of Trappist Ales. The list was originally posted August 11, 2011.


Stiftskirche von Engelszell by Gerhard Anzinger, Wels via Wikipedia.
Stiftskirche von Engelszell by Gerhard Anzinger, Wels via Wikipedia.

8. Stift Engelszell

Stift Engelszell Trappist AleIn 2012, the Abbey of Engelszell in Engelhartszell, Austria started a their own brewery and began production of their unique Trappist ales: Gregorius and Benno. The Austrian abbey received permission to use the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo the same year. According to the official website, the first brew was the Gregorius and is a dark triple sitting at 9.7% Alc. Production on the Gregorius began in June 1, 2012 with the second variety following on May, 30, 2013. The second beer, Benno, is a bright Dubbel style beer sitting at 6.9% Alc.

The abbey was founded in 1293 by Bernhard of Prambach, Bishop of Passau, as a Cistercian monastery. In 1786, Engelszell was dissolved by Emperor Joseph II and the buildings were subsequently put to several secular uses, including as a factory and as a residence.

In 1925, Engelszell was occupied and re-founded as a Trappist monastery by refugee German monks expelled after World War I from Oelenberg Abbey in Alsace. These monks had found temporary shelter in Banz Abbey but were looking for a permanent home. Initially established as a priory, in 1931 it was elevated to the rank of an abbey, and the former prior, Gregorius Eisvogel, appointed abbot, in which office he was dedicated by Johannes Maria Gföllner, Bishop of Linz, at a ceremony in Wilhering Abbey. On 2 December 1939, the abbey was confiscated by the Gestapo and the community, numbering 73, evicted. Four monks were sent to Dachau Concentration Camp, while others were imprisoned elsewhere or drafted into the Wehrmacht. At the end of the war in 1945, only about a third of the previous community returned. They were augmented, however, by the refugee German Trappists expelled from Mariastern Abbey, Banja Luka, Bosnia, under their abbot Bonaventura Diamant.

The monastery lives mostly from its agricultural produce. It has become known both for its liqueurs and for its cheese, Engelszeller Trappistenkäse. In May 2012, the International Trappist Association approved Engelszell to be the 8th producer of Trappist beer, and only the second outside of Belgium.9


Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass., is the first American brewery to be manned exclusively by Trappist monks.
Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass., is the first American brewery to be manned exclusively by Trappist monks.

9. St. Joseph’s Abbey

St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts is the first American monastery to produce an official Trappist Ale and the first outside of Europe. The abbey was awarded the right to use the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo in 2013.

“At a meeting yesterday of the International Trappist Association in Brussels, the Spencer Trappist Ale was awarded the ‘Authentic Trappist Product’ designation,” François de Harenne, Commercial Director of the Orval Trappist brewery, told the Belgian Beer Specialist on Dec. 11.“The decision was made after several controls made on the premises during the last weeks…We also were lucky enough to taste the beer.”

According to the official website of the brewery, “Our recipe was inspired by the traditional refectory ales known as patersbier (“fathers’ beer” in Flemish). These sessionable beers are brewed by the monks for their dinner table and are typically only available at the monastery. Spencer is a full-bodied, golden-hued ale with fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness. The beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized, preserving live yeast that naturally carbonates the beer in the bottle and keg, and contributes to the beer flavor and aroma.” The beer will sit at 6.5% Alc.10


Abdij Maria Toevlucht Trappist Monastery.
Abdij Maria Toevlucht Trappist Monastery.

10. Abdij Maria Toevlucht

The Maria Toevlucht Trappist Abbey received permission in December 2013 to use the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo alongside the Trappist Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts.

The official website does confirms a brewery has been constructed and the monastery has been accepted into the “Trappist market.”11


More List on Beer & Wine from St. Peter’s List:

  1. [Source] [ITA] []
  2. [Source] [Westmalle Website] []
  3. [Source] [Westvletern] []
  4. [Source] [Achel] []
  5. [Source] [Chimay] []
  6. [Source] [Rochefort] []
  7. [Source] [Orval] []
  8. [Source] [Koningshoeven] []
  9. Stift Engelszell: The official website in German is Stift Engelszell. The history of the monastery is quoted from the Wikipedia article. []
  10. Spencer: There are two notable websites for Spencer. First the Official Spencer Brewery Website and the St. Joseph’s Abbey Website. The quote from the Belgian Beer Specialist is taken from the FOX News article US to Open First Trappist monk brewery Outside of Europe. []
  11. Maria Toevlucht: The official website of Maria Toevlucht. []

Blessed Beer is the Best Beer: 10 Photos of Delicious Monk-Made Ale

Bless, + O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain.

Listers, bless O Lord this creature beer! The following photos are ones taken by our staff and one you’ve seen in on Facebook & Twitter. All of the featured beers below are official Trappist Ales made by monks and registered with the International Trappist Association.

I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
St. Brigid of Ireland

Another fantastic quote on Catholicism and beer comes from fanciful mind of G.K. Chesterton, “In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.” As always, if you have a picture of some tasty beer made by monks, don’t hesitate to send it in.

More from St. Peter’s List:

Also, please remember that blessed beer is the best beer. “Bless, + O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of thy holy name; that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul. Through Christ our Lord.” Amen.





















Trappist Ale Pittsburgh


Email your photos of delicious monk-made ale to SPL. Cheers!

15 Catholic Memes from Catholic Gag

“Augustine says (Music. ii, 15): ‘I pray thee, spare thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.’ Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists in playful words or deeds.”

Listers, in his seminal Summa Theologica, our Angelic Doctor states the following on playful deeds and humor:

Augustine says (Music. ii, 15): “I pray thee, spare thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.” Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists in playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times. Moreover the Philosopher [Ethic. ii, 7; iv, 8 assigns to games the virtue of eutrapelia, which we may call “pleasantness.” – ST II-II 168.A2

Catholic Gag is full of  “playful words and deeds” that may relax the virtuous mind. Catholic Gag is self-described as a site “with Catholic memes, quotes, ecards, videos, etc. We are about fun, education, apologetics, evangelization and much more…” SPL has selected fifteen images and if you enjoy these memes and want to see more please be sure to “Like” Catholic Gag’s Facebook page. Cheers.


Memes and More



Fulton Sheen Meme 2

Moses Vegan

Forgive me Father Boring

Valley of Death

St Anthony Meme

Pope Francis BXVI Meme

Mass Priest Meme

Fulton Sheen Meme

Chesterton Quote Meme

Catholic Dating Meme

Vatican II Meme

Trappist Meme Beer Monk

Priest Feminists

Escriva Meme

Chesterton Red Meme

12 of the Best GK Chesterton Quotes

“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”

Listers, whether the topic was angels or cheese the extraordinary mind of GK Chesterton always had a witticism to share. SPL has frequently commented on the British author and shared his quotes on Facebook and Twitter. The following quotes are the ones that have garnered the best response from the listers on social media. Those unfamiliar with the colossal and unique mind of GK Chesterton will want to pick up his famous work Orthodoxy and his classic The Everlasting Man. Enjoy.



“Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.”


“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”


“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”


“There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.”


“Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference which is an elegant name for ignorance.”


“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”


“The word “good” has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.”


“It [feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”


“Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ I am. Yours truly.”


“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”


“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”


“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”


Listers, did we miss your favorite? Feel free to add more GK Chesterton quotes in the comments below and be sure to check out our other lists of quotes.

Cigars Around a Lake of Beer: 6 Catholic Quotes

“The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar.” – G.K. Chesterton

“The Good Life is the Catholic Life.”

The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar.
G.K. Chesterton


In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.
GK Chesterton


From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.
Saint Arnold of Metz, The Patron Saint of Brewers


Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
Hilaire Belloc


Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath, and a glass of good wine.1
St. Thomas Aquinas


I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
St. Brigid of Ireland


Listers, have we missed any? Feel free to add them in the combox and if there is enough we may make another list. SPL has also published lists of prayers for blessing beer, prayers for blessing wine, pictures of our dear “Papa Ratzi” enjoying a fine ale and our classic list of the 7 Authentic Trappist Ales.


  1. While widely shared, this quote is incorrect. It appears to be a reconstruction of St. Thomas Aquinas’ comments on Sorrow in his Summa Theologica. Notably, it mentions baths and sleep – but not wine. []

Pope Benedict XVI and Beer: 9 Photos to Brighten Your Day

“Bless O Lord this Creature Beer!” – 9 photos that bridge the gap between the greatness of beer and our beloved Holy Father.

Listers, praise be to Jesus Christ Our Lord that we are not Puritans. Christ did not change wine into water, he change water into wine; and ever since then our Church has had a long and proud history of brewing and refining alcoholic beverages. The following are several photos featuring Cardinal Ratzinger, German beer memorabilia from Pope Benedict XVI’s journey to Germany, and other papal products for your enjoyment.1


More from St. Peter’s List:


Please feel free to share links to more photos and Ratzinger/Benedict XVI memorabilia.

Cardinal Ratzinger solving the world’s problems over beer.

Cardinal Ratzinger enjoy a hefty glass of beer.

The photo is reported to be Cardinal Ratzinger and Karl Rahner and a third guest enjoying a conversation and beer.

A speciality German beer created to commemorate the Pope’s visit to Germany.

A German beer stein created for the Pope’s visit to Germany.

Beer stein with Pope Benedict XVI’s Code of Arms

A “Cardinal Ratzinger Stein” – “Laying the Smackdown on Heresy”

A beer stein with a photo of our beloved Holy Father


UPDATE: This post was updated on 3-14-13, the morning after Pope Francis was raised to the Apostolic Throne of St. Peter.

  1. SPL thanks Andrea Timm – a lovely lister – for bringing the featured image to our attention and precipitating this post. []

2 Catholic Prayers for Blessing Beer

Bless, + O Lord, this creature beer!

Listers, in case you needed another reason to be Catholic, SPL presents a blessing for beer in both Latin and English.

Rituale Romanum – Blessing of the Beer

1. Blessing of the Beer in Latin

V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.


Benedic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisiae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi, et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti; ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corpus et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Cardinal Ratzinger enjoy a hefty mug of ale.

2. Blessing of the Beer in English

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Bless, + O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of thy holy name; that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul. Through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

And it is sprinkled with holy water.

More on Beer: The 7 Authentic Trappist Ales