Monks, Beer, and Quest

What Monks? Members of the Cistercian community of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, Leicestershire.

Which Beer? Tynt Meadow English Trappist Ale. In June 2018 the monks became the 12th Trappist community in the world to brew its own beer. It is brewed using English barley, hops and yeast to create a strong dark ale.

What is the link with Quest? For a number of years the community has welcomed members of the local Quest group for Days of Recollection and, beginning in May 2017, it became the venue for the Quest National Retreat. The 2020 weekend Retreat – “Do Whatever He Tells You” – will again take place at the Abbey in May (Friday 15th – Sunday 17th) – see the separate posting for details of how to book a place.

Together with two other members of the Quest in the Midlands group, I attended a screening of the feature documentary on Monday 9th December at the Phoenix Cinema in Leicester. It is a beautifully crafted film perfectly capturing the deep spiritual lives of the monks; many of them will be instantly recognised by those who have visited the Monastery. The difference here being that we glimpse the lives (and deaths) of monks from within the monastic enclosure, normally off limits to visitors.

I can honestly say that the documentary had me smiling a lot of the time, both in seeing familiar faces and in listening to the monks explain in clear and simple terms what drew them to the monastic life and what keeps them there. Tears and laughter were also part of my own experience of this film. This is an extraordinary religious community with so much to teach us about ourselves, our direction (or misdirection) in life and the mysterious life to which God has called each one of us.

Currently most cinema screenings are confined to the East Midlands, though the website – – suggests that screenings elsewhere may become available. Keep an eye on the website for updates or send a message via the Facebook page requesting a screening in your area (

John Ashman