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Craft Brewing with Trappist Monks

A member of St. Joseph's Trappist Abbey walks through the community's cloister in Spencer, Mass. St. Joseph's has a community of 63 monks in residence.   (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Craft Brewing with Trappist monks

For more than a century, Catholic Cistercian monks known as Trappists have been brewing and selling what many beer lovers consider some of the best in the world. Eight monasteries — six in Belgium and one each in Holland and Austria — produce the only beer recognized by the International Trappist Association as authentic Trappist beer.

And starting Thursday, the 63 brothers of St. Joseph's Abbey — about an hour's drive west of Boston — will join them, selling the first Trappist beer brewed outside Europe. Their ambitious venture was hardly met with enthusiasm by their exacting Trappist brothers in Europe.