A few months ago there was a news item about a Trappist monastery in Leicestershire that was about to start brewing beer. Mount St Bernard Abbey near Coalville became only the 12th monastery in the world, and the first in the UK, to brew Trappist style beer.
Now as luck would have it, Mrs Ken and myself have just returned from a holiday in Cornwall and the monastery just so happens to lie in between the A42 and the M1. Seems crazy not to make the detour. Just as well we had satnav as there were no "tourist signs" to direct us.
As we arrived the bells of the abbey sounded ( which I thought was a nice touch) and saw 2 women clutching what suspiciously looked like beer bottles heading for their car near ours in the abbey car park. "He's just locked up and will be back in 15mins" I was told. " There are loads of bottles left !" Apparently the monk/brother had gone to midday prayers.
Champing at the bit and looking at the time on my phone every 2 minutes, eventually the shop door opened and the monk/brother waved me in and didnt seem surprised when I said " Ive come for the beer ".
"Are you Dutch ? he said " Dutch, no I'm from the North East Sunderland ". " Hmm, you sound Dutch - I'm German"
As you would expect the little shop was mostly full of religious items plus some honey jars and stacked on the floor were boxes of the beer, as well as a stash on a shelf.
As I was paying another guy walked in, seeking solace after England were knocked out of the world cup the day before. Soon their was a surreal moment when a German monk, a Leeds supporter and myself chatting about the world cup.
Then in walked 4 more guys. Ive come to buy some honey , one announced, not believing him for a second . Back outside another car pulled up and the male driver was outof the car nearly before the engine had stopped, followed by his 2 female companions.
" Here for the beer I presume?" I said to the women. "Oh course, can you see the way he is striding across the car park".
Suddenly, everything was alright with the world, the football defeat forgotten.
And the beer, well I had some last night. Its called Tynt Meadow, named after a field nearby. Its 7.4% and brewed and bottled in the old monastery kitchen. You can buy the beer but not drink it there, they dont have a license. Its bottled conditioned and has a sort of muddy brownish colour...very quaffable.