Jan 21, 2023
Past is prelude, as they say, and it’s always interesting to find foreshadowings of our contemporary beer culture deep in the history books. Take monastery breweries, for example, which are some of the oldest beer makers in the world, with a tradition going back a thousand years or more. But not all monastery breweries date back quite so far. In fact, new ones are still opening up today—not often, of course, but at least occasionally, as at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire, England, which only started brewing its beer, called Tynt Meadow, in 2018.
In this episode, I’m talking to the beer writer Mark Dredge, who published a Signifier, “The More You Master Something, the More Free You Feel,” about the new monastery brewery at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey on October 19, 2022. But that’s not the only story Mark has done for us recently. His article “Lost in Translation — How Flavor Wheels and Tasting Tools Can Evolve to Speak with Global Beer Drinkers” was published on August 18, as part of our Next Germination series, made in partnership with Guinness.
If monastic brewing has centuries of backstory, then the topic of “Lost in Translation”—tasting notes, and the way we describe flavors in beer—is a much newer practice. As Mark explains, the comparative language we use to describe flavor mostly originated in the wine world in the 1970s. His story explores this evolution, and also questions how relevant those words and terms are for someone on a different continent, or in a different culture.
In this episode, we delve into both of Mark’s recent stories, and explore the possibility of updating flavor wheels and tasting tools for more modern—and more diverse—audiences. We also discuss monastic brewing, the rigors of monastic life, and Mark’s abiding interest in running, which leads into another article he’s been working on for us.