Friday, February 4, 2011

Rocherfort's Burning: The Devil is in the Details

From the Beer Tap TV "circular file"...

In late December the Belgian abbey at St. Remy-Rochefort, known for its famous Trappist beer, was severally damaged by fire. After perusing a myriad of news reports we came across one that was glaringly inaccurate. BBC News Europe reported that Rochefort was "one of only five breweries making Trappist beer."

BZZZZZ!  Wrong, but thanks for playing.

There are in fact seven makers of Trappist beer. Six are located in Belgium (Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren, and Westmalle), while the other is in the Netherlands (La Trappe; aka Koningshoeven).

How a widely recognized news agency like the BBC can get a simple fact like that wrong is mind boggling. Frankly, we're more shocked then Peter Gabriel's monkey.

But back to the fire.

If you speak French you'll love this YouTube video...

If you don't speak French the gist of the report states that all (but one) of the monks managed to escape. Apparently the monks were dining (in silence) when the fire broke out, so the building was quickly evacuated.  Far more importantly however is the fact that all the vats of delicious Trappist beer survived intact!

It took 70 firefighters to put out the blaze. Based on the video they didn't do a very good job.

Released reports suggest the fire began near a temporary generator that was being used due to problems with the building's main power supply. Hey, they're monks not electricians. However, after the BBC Europe botch job we weren't entirely satisfied with the reported cause of the fire... so we conducted our own investigation. What we found was far more sinister than a Honda generator.

After just a few minutes of Googling, followed by some hurried IMs with a guy calling himself "Brother SelloutImust," we discovered the real cause of the fire: one monk (we’ll call him “Wholier Then Thou”) reneged on a deal he signed with the Devil back in July of 1987 for... yup, you guessed it - his soul. Details of their back room deal are sketchy, but Brother SelloutImust swears (profusely) that it involved pole dancers, fruit roll ups, and a clown suit.

Oddly, officials found no bodies amidst the the burnt ruins, which begs the question:  Where in the hell is "Wholier Then Thou?" 


* The website for St. Remy-Rochefort includes gorgeous pictures of the grounds, but it's all in French.


Unknown said...

Hay dude, million thanks for the Brew Like a Monk! i was looking for book for days and don't know i didn't find it when searched amazon or Ebay. you made my morning!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for an alternative to the classics (Charlie Papazian and John Palmer, always great to have something new in the repertoire!