As Advent begins, believers and nonbelievers alike turn their thoughts to Christmas gift-giving. Catholics often want their presents to support Catholic companies and religious orders. While many sites concentrate on items like books or games, I thought it would be fun to highlight something different: a few different fine beverages made by Catholics.
1. Mystic Monk Coffee
Situated in the foothills of the Rocky mountains in my home state, the Carmelite Monks of Wyoming roast coffee strong enough to keep them watchful at the night office! Named Mystic Monk Coffee, the monks roast, package, and ship it all themselves. I’ve usually drunk their “Midnight Vigils” blend, either as a french press or espresso. You can order it fresh on their online Mystic Monk Coffee Store.
2. Owen Roe Wines
Proving that a liberal arts degree is a good foundation for pretty much any line of work, the Californian Winery Owen Roe is the result of the labors of a Thomas Aquinas College alumni. My introduction to this winery was Abbot’s Table, a rich and silky red. One of the smoothest wines I’ve ever tasted, it was gently sweet and fruity without being anything like a dessert wine. Crafted in honor of the Benedictine tradition of monastic hospitality, this wine leads me to my next recommendation.
3. The Fine Wine of Le Barroux
Across the pond, the French Traditionalist Abbey of Le Barroux grows its grapes in thousand year old vineyards. Named Via Caritatis, the Benedictine monks of Le Barroux have created a line with characteristically French class and monastic symbolism. Each bottle, from their red Pax to light Vox, incorporates a thoughtful choice of spiritual concept to match the liquid inside. Available directly from the French monks, it is also distributed in the USA through earthlabora.com. You can find out more about their winery in this video.
4. Craft Beer of Norcia
Finally, turning to beer, I would like to highlight the excellent produce of the monks of Norcia, which they began brewing in 2012. Birra Nursia was born in the hills of Umbria, in the very birthplace of Saint Benedict, and now comes in three styles: Bionda, Tripel, Extra. Alghouth produced in small quantities, Birra Nursia has been made available in the USA from the monks own site. Birra Nursia is some of the best beer I’ve ever tasted.
Here, then, are a few present ideas out of the ordinary: the motto of Birra Nursia, “ut laetificat cor” (to gladden the heart) could be applied to each of these drinks. Both gourmet and Catholic, these beverages remind us to avoid all Gnostic tendencies: the body is good, as are the things of this earth we produce to satisfy it. May one or another of these beverages gladden your and your friend’s heart this yuletide!