When I was in Venezuela I watched a video about a German nun who is also brewmaster. The story seemed pretty interesting to me because she is the only one in Germany and in all the world and she came of a lineage dating from the Middle Age. Therefore, I immediately wrote her name in my notebook. Honestly, I had no idea how could I do to contact her but I knew I will make it possible.
As soon as I arrived in Germany – 2 months ago – I began to search for all the possible ways to contact her. I must confess it was not as complicated as I imagined. I wrote to a lot of sisters from the monastery and then two days later she – The sister Doris- replied me. I could just not believe it, it was a dream come true. And on May 24th, I traveled from Munich to Mallersdorf. It is a town located in the mountain in Lower Bavaria between Regensburg-Landshut-Straubig. I have to thank to my friend Omar and my friend Lili because they went with me.
When I opened the door I came up into a beautiful garden and at the end, I could see a table. She was sitting there with another nun drinking a cup of coffee. She was really friendly and with a big smile and hug, she just welcomed me- as if we had known each other for long time ago-.
I started with some questions:
- I read that you are the last nun who is also a brewmaster here in Germany and in all the world. Do you have any successor?
A: At the moment there is no anyone. Would you like to be my succesor? (Laughing).
- When did you start to work here as a brewer?
A: In 1966 I started to work at the Monastery and I received a training from a sister who was here before me. Then I did my bachelor as a brewer here in Germany and three years later I was the only responsible person of all of this.
- How many beers do you drink each day?
A: (Laughing). I only drink a glass of beer every day but on Friday I always make a beer fast.
- Beer fast? What does exactly mean?
A: Well, I only drink a quarter of beer glass during breakfast, 250ml at lunch and 500ml or a little bit more during dinner. But I don’t eat anything during the day and that is enough to reduce at least 3 kg (laughing).
- What is your favorite beer?
A: My favorite beer, of course is the one I brew here in the monastery and I really like Helles Beer. I do not support the modern beers or craft beers – as she says- nor industrial beers. I consider myself a person attached to the traditions and for me it is really important to respect the German Purity Law or Reinheitsgebot.
- Do you consider it can be a relationship between God and beer?
A: Of course, the relationship between God and beer is not something new. It is a tradition dating back from the Middle Age, when the monks used to prepared the beers in their monasteries for their own consumption and for the pilgrims who visited them. Beer is the purest one into all the alcoholic beverages.
- I read that you have some foundations. Could you tell me a little bit about it?
A: Yes, we have a kindergarten here in Germany, a home for all the poor children in Africa and in Romania. We are always helping the neediest. At the end, I think it is the mission that God let us through beer.
- What do you think could be your best advice for all the women who want to become a brewer?
A: All I can tell you is that it is difficult for both, men and women. But I consider that all the women who choose this profession are really admirable and my opinion is that it is a really complicated job. They have to be prepared for everything, it takes a lot of physical strength, the ability to solve problems on a daily basis, dealing in an environment surrounded by a lot of men and also most of the time it must be forsaken for example to form a family, which is the dream of lot of women.
And once we finish with all of the questions, we started with the most exciting part of the
The Brewery tour:
The Monastery Mallersdorf is a historical and cultural place. The Benedictines were the first to build this monastery dating from the late 17th century. It was destroyed during the war and since 1869 was the center of the Franciscan. In the history, you can also find some information that dates from the 1623 year in which they relate the existence of monks who sold their beers in barrels. And from 1881 to the present it belongs to the Franciscan sisters.
The brewery produces a total of 3000 HL of beer and 800 HL of soda and the sister Doris Engelhard is the responsible brewmaster. She woke up every day at 3:30 in the morning so that the brew can be ready as soon as possible. She says it’s a really hard work but she loves it and what she likes the most is that at the end of the day she can enjoy a glass of beer made by herself, with a lot of foam.
The fermentation process usually takes 6-7 weeks, to obtain the best result. The capacity of the fermentation room is 420 hl and the tanks are making with stainless steel with 70 hl each. The company that produces them called Gresser – it is a German Company with a lot of experience in the industry and more than 140 years of tradition. It is located in the town of Regensburg, Germany. In addition, the brewery also has a beer filter from the company Pall SeitzSchenk Filtersystems GmbH. The beer filtration takes place after the fermentation and it allows to obtain a beer without any fermentation residues. The filtered beer and the unfiltered beer has a different flavor. Not all the beers are filtered and not all the breweries filter their beers.
They also use a very old and traditional technique in the cooling process of the wort. The equipment is called Kühlschiff or Coolship. It is a type of container used in the process of wort cooling, it must be open, wide and flat and it is traditionally constructed with wood. Nowadays they are also made of iron or copper to achieve a better thermal conductivity, in this way allows to the wort to acquires the oxygen and the temperature necessary for the yeast to work successfully during the breathing-fermentation process.
In addition, they also produce some beers with “open fermentation”. It is important to keep every kind of contamination away during this part of the process.
The packaging area has an equipment from 2002 designed by a Swiss company in conjunction with German companies. It has a washing machine and filling machine, but also has a barrel packaging area. The bottles have the traditional German presentation, called “Bügelverschlussflasche” or bottles with an oscillating plug with an iron lock of 0.5lt capacity.
AND THE BEST FOR THE END…
We sampled 3 of their most famous beers:
- Helles Volbier mit Hefe (unfiltered): original extract of 12%.
- Helles doppelbock (filtered): original extract of 18%.
- Jubiläumsbier: a beer that was made in commemoration of the 500 years of the law of German purity.
And we also had a dinner together with bread, cheese and sausage all made it in the monastery. Just delicious!
The Monastery has a total of 500 sisters. They are living and working every day in their facilities. They not only produce beer from the area but also produce their own barley for brewing, the bread, cheese, sausages and milk.
To buy their beers you must go to the brewery during: Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Wednesdays after noon are closed and Sundays too. You can also buy them at some stores in the area of Regensburg, Landshut or Straubing.
THANKS SISTER DORIS FOR EVERYTHING.
AND HERE I WILL LET YOU THE VIDEO THAT ALLOW ME TO CREATE ALL OF THIS AMAZING STORY.