It came as a surprise to discover that monks were no longer involved in the beer-making at Trappist brewer Westmalle during a visit to research for a feature of Trappist beers. With the exception of small-scale Westvleteren that is pretty much the case at all seven Trappist breweries in Belgium and the Netherlands. It is largely the result of demographics – the average age of monks at many monasteries in western Europe is up in the 50s, 60s or 70s, hardly an age to be pushing around barrels. [More]Nonetheless, to merit the name, the profits from the sale of Trappist beer are used for the upkeep of the monastery, it's community and charitable causes. So you can still feel doubly good about yourself next time you imbibe a bottle of Chimay -- confident in the knowledge you're not only blessing your tastebuds but supporting the Lord's work as well. =)
(See also: "Ale and hearty: Aging Trappist monks brew on" (Reuters, October 20, 2009).