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Monasteries | Mont des Cats (F)

Abbaye Sainte Marie du Mont des Cats
2470 Route du Mont des Cats
F-59 270 Godewaersvelde
Tél. : 03 28 43 83 60 - Fax : 03 28 43 83 61
site : http://www.abbaye-montdescats.com

 

The abbey of Mont-des-Cats, or Abbaye Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, is a Trappist monastery established on the top of Mont des Cat in Godewaersvelde in French Flanders (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, bordering Belgium and the United Kingdom).

An ever-living tradition:  Mont-des-Cats cheese

Like the other Trappist monasteries, the abbey of Mont-des-Cats, founded in 1826, was economically independent thanks to farming and cattle breeding.  Cheese was made from herd's milk to meet the needs of the community.  Rather quickly this cheese acquired a certain success in the area, so much so that the monks had to buy milk from neighboring farms. 

Today the abbey of Mont-des-Cats is still quite famous for its cheese.
 
The brewing tradition:  Mont-des-Cats beer

In 1848 the monastery built a forge and a brewery.  As with all Trappists, the beer was initially brewed only for the personal use of the monks, and it was brown, strong, and tasty;  however, visitors greatly appreciated the beer and commercialization was begun.  The brewery was modernized in 1896 and began to produce blond beer.  By 1900, the seventy Trappists of the abbey were employing some fifty workers.

But in 1905, as a result of a change in the decree concerning foreign monks (who were quite numerous in Mont-des-Cats), beer brewing was discontinued at the monastery.  In April 1918, during bombing raids, the monastery and the brewery were completely destroyed.  The brewery was never rebuilt.

The revival of Mont-des-Cats beer !

163 years after its first brewing, the abbey of Mont-des-Cats resumed it brewing tradition!  The Trappist community wished to have another source of income in addition to its cheese production facility, to cover its financial obligations.  In this way, they hope to be able to make the community self-supporting as well as ensure the maintenance of their buildings and contribute to charitable works. 

The new Trappist beer “Mont des Cats” was presented in June 2011:  an amber-colored beer, brewed in Scourmont Abbey.  These two Trappist abbeys have long enjoyed an excellent relationship;  now they put into practice the solidarity within the Trappist Order to brew this exclusive recipe in one of the most famous breweries in the world, known for its quality and its love of beer.  This unique cooperative effort belongs to the monastic tradition going back to the “Carta Caritatis,” the foundational document of the Cistercian Order in the twelfth century.