• Wed. Mar 29th, 2023

Weihenstephan: The Oldest Brewery in the World?


Dec 30, 2022

People have been making beer for hundreds of years, however the oldest brewery nonetheless in existence wasn’t constructed till the eleventh century. The Weihenstephan Brewery was based in Freising, Germany in 1040 AD and is taken into account the world’s oldest brewery. So how was this brewery developed, and the way has it modified over the past thousand years?

Engraving of Weihenstephan Abbey, residence of the world’s oldest constantly working brewery, by Michael Wening in Topographia Bavariae, about 1700 ( Public Domain )

Monks Brew the Finest Beer

The event of the Weihenstephan Brewery is an unconventional one. Weihenstephan’s constructing was initially in-built 725 AD as a Benedictine monastery on Nahrberg Hill. Saint Corbinian, a Frankish bishop, constructed this monastery and college together with twelve of his followers. A sanctuary was already current close by on the mountain, making it the proper spot for the monastery. Like many different monasteries in Europe, the Benedictine monks started to brew beer within the constructing to supply to guests and to maintain them alert throughout instances of fasting. Since beer contained extra vitamins than water alone, it was thought of the proper meal replacement for fasting monks. 

Saint Corbinian teaches the people of Freising. He also helped found what is now the world’s oldest brewery. (Public Domain)

Saint Corbinian teaches the individuals of Freising. He additionally helped discovered what’s now the world’s oldest brewery. ( Public Domain )

Only a few many years after the monastery’s institution, the monks started to domesticate their very own hops to make use of within the brewing course of. This is likely one of the earliest items of proof of hops being utilized in beer manufacturing, as hops weren’t utilized in brewing earlier than the Middle Ages . Since a wild hop backyard already existed on the grounds of the monastery, it’s believed that the monks used them experimentally so as to add extra taste and vitamins to their beer. Clearly, it was a sensible choice.

The monks at Weihenstephan mastered the hops brewing process, and their determination created the world’s oldest brewery (JoeFoodie / CC BY SA 2.0)

The monks at Weihenstephan mastered the hops brewing course of, and their willpower created the world’s oldest brewery (JoeFoodie / CC BY SA 2.0 )

Sadly, the monks endured some hardships alongside the way in which to industrial brewing. In 955 AD, Hungary invaded the area and destroyed the monastery. Although they may not be stopped from rebuilding the monastery, this reconstruction took a few years to finish. It wasn’t till almost 100 years after its destruction in 1040 AD that the monastery transformed right into a full-time brewery. Abbot Arnold, who ran the monastery on the time, had efficiently obtained a license for the monastery to promote beer in the neighborhood. 

Even Earthquakes Couldn’t Cease the World’s Oldest Brewery

Destiny was in opposition to the poor monastery brewery. Within the 400 years after acquiring that license, the brewery was destroyed almost a dozen instances. Between 4 fires, three plagues, a number of famines, and an earthquake, it appeared the monastery had little hope of success. The monks, nevertheless, refused to face defeat. They continued to rebuild the monastery brewery each time it was destroyed. Together with repairing the constructing, in addition they improved their brewing with every rebuild, dedicated to coming again stronger than earlier than every time.

After the fifteenth century, the monastery brewery started to thrive. It didn’t face additional bodily catastrophe and continued to brew and promote beer, each in the neighborhood and afar. Within the sixteenth century, their recipe for brewing modified, after the Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria issued a brand new regulation known as the Bavarian Purity Legislation. This regulation required that brewers solely brew beer with three components: water, hops, and barley. This ensured that customers would stay secure whereas consuming beer, since some brewers on the time used extra components that had been generally dangerous, and even lethal. 

The oldest brewery at Weihenstephan suffered numerous disasters. The Catastrophe, Eduard von Grützner 1892 (Public Domain)

The oldest brewery at Weihenstephan suffered quite a few disasters. The Disaster, Eduard von Grützner 1892 ( Public Domain )

Whereas no additional natural disasters occurred to the brewery, it nonetheless confronted nice modifications within the nineteenth century. In 1803, the monastery brewery was secularized. The Bavarian State took management of the brewery and all its possessions, so it might be additional regulated. Brewing continued, however the brewery was now not owned by the monks who had so lovingly cared for it. The monks continued to brew there within the coming years, coaching new secular brewers as they aged. 

In 1852, the Weihenstephan Brewery acquired a crew of recent Bavarian college students from the Central Agricultural College, which had simply moved from Schleissheim. These college students discovered the craft of brewing from a few of the most skilled brewers within the nation and continued to go on this information to incoming brewing college students. By the early twentieth century, the college turned an academy inside the Technical College Munich, known as the College for Agriculture and Brewing. This program rapidly made Weihenstephan the capital of the beer brewing world , having a few of the most superior brewing know-how the world had ever seen. Quickly, craving brewers worldwide started making use of to the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan for an opportunity to turn into expert and well-known brewers. 

The world’s oldest brewery in Weihenstephan, Bavaria, Germany is now owned by the state (aero-pictures.de / Adobe Stock)

The world’s oldest brewery in Weihenstephan, Bavaria, Germany is now owned by the state ( aero-pictures.de / Adobe Inventory)

A Brewery Risen From the Ashes

The celebrity of the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan stays at the moment. It’s nonetheless sought out as one of the vital superior and elite brewing coaching facilities on the earth. The Weihenstephan Brewery, though the oldest brewery, has a few of the most trendy know-how to brew beer on the earth, and stays dedicated to its pure components. Brewers who acquired their coaching on the Weihenstephan Brewery have turn into worldwide ambassadors for the brewing trade. They ceaselessly attend conferences and share their data about brewing with brewers throughout the globe, solely strengthening Weihenstephan’s long-time fame because the brewing middle of the world. 

The historical past of the Weihenstephan Brewery is an extended and complicated one. Within the face of a lot tragedy, one would assume that this brewery would have failed numerous instances within the final thousand years. As a substitute, fueled by the inspiration of some dozen Benedictine monks, the well-known monastery brewery remained as sturdy as ever. Like a phoenix, the Weihenstephan Brewery rose from the ashes (generally actually) and stays the oldest brewery constantly working, in addition to one in all its most well-known.

Prime picture: The world’s oldest brewery is positioned in Bavaria, Germany, established by Benedictine monks. Cellar scene with completely satisfied monks by Simony Jenson, 1904. Supply: Public Domain

By Lex Leigh

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