Saturday 22 August 2009

Monks just wanna have fun

Apart from the abstinence bit, being a monk doesn't sound too bad. You're watered, fed, given somewhere rather grand to live and never have to worry about what to put on in the morning. And, let us not forget, it's only sex they're supposed to abstain from.

Chanting's thirsty work. To quench it, monasteries have been fermenting and distilling for a millennium and they don't do things by halves. Monky drinks pack a punch that hints at a whole lot more than just their generous alcohol content. There are 27 plants and spices from across the globe in that Lancashire nurses favourite Dom Benedictine. Who knows what lurks among the 130 different plants that go to make up the 110 proof Green Chartreuse? And monky beers regularly have an effect that approaches the psychedelic.

Alcohol and abstinence are not natural bedfellows. So let's look at the evidence. A bunch of men who 'just say no' build a great big palace in the middle of the impoverished countryside and stuff it with enough booze to slay a crusade... Build and they will come. And, by all accounts, for hundreds of years, they did and awful lot of coming.
There have been some changes... the Reformation, Dissolution and French Revolution mean monking ain't what it was. But it says something for the resilience of their drinks that many are still with us. This one's a cracker, Angus brought it round last night.

Lovely citrus nose, lots of little bubbles and a complex, refreshing flavour that cloaks it's whopping alcohol content. It was half way down the second bottle, when, what I can only describe as the 'monky effect' kicked in. Wow... this could become a habit.

It came from Oddbins and I've seen it for sale in bigger Sainsbury's too.


  1. Time to do one on Buckfast?

  2. Good idea and to give it a fair go, as opposed to a square go, perhaps I should try it al fresco, standing on the street with a few mates? I could even shout out my tasting notes, casually littered with expletives, to passers by.