Church of beer, literally

Canterbury Cathedral in Kent sells traditional bitter

Nov 4, 2004 - An English catherdal has revived the ancient monastic tradition of selling beer. Canterbury Cathedral in Kent cathedral offers visitors a bottled bitter made by local brewer Shepherd Neame, produced according to a 300-year-old Kentish recipe.


Canon Richard Marsh said beer was made on site by the monastic community in Canterbury between 1100 and 1538. He hopes Cathedral Ale "will remind people of the fun and friendship of a visit to the cathedral."

"It's our celebration ale and brewed using traditional methods in our Faversham brewery," said Tracey Jepson of Shepherd Neame, which was established in 1698.

During the Middle Ages, beer was considered safer than water because the brewing process killed off bacteria. It was often brewed by monastic communities but this tradition was halted in Great Britain when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 16th century.

Proceeds from the sale of the ale will go towards the upkeep of the cathedral.

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