An Inspired Beer

Valmagne is a 13th-century Cistercian Abbey located in the parish of Villeveyrac, not far from the Etang de Thau, a lake in the southernmost, sunny province of old Languedoc.

The Cistercian monks planted vineyards, and for eight centuries this earth has been a heaven of vines. Vineyards and wineries saved the abbey from vandalism during times of revolutionary unrest.

Monks have returned and now operate a 185-acre (75 ha) vineyard in ideal wine country. A few years ago they also decided to reconnect with another monastic tradition: brewing, in the Trappist manner.

This amber beer — rather dark — is a dubbel, crafted with four qualities of malts, both roasted and kilned. On the shady terrace of the Frère Nonenque farmhouse-inn, next to the vegetable garden and vineyards – all organic –, I savoured its aroma of elder flowers and its round flavour. A beer to taste, a place to visit. Amen.