Meet Sister Doris Engelhard, the German beer-brewing nun

A Bavarian nun has caused a stir by showing the integral role women have played in the craft beer industry.

Sister Doris Engelhard is a Franciscan nun who has been upholding Bavaria’s beer brewing traditions for more than 40 years.

Each year, thousands of tourists from all over the world cross oceans to taste the extremely exclusive libation.

Her abbey, the 12th Century Kloster Mallesdorf, brews roughly 80,000 gallons of Bavarian beer each year, with 18% of production going directly to the sisters and their employees.

Beer is served with every meal at the Abbey. The rest is sold in their Beirgarten or local shops and cafes, but none of the beer makes it out of the region.

Doris moved to Mallesdorf with her family in 1961, according to Aleteia, where she attended the Abbey’s school.

She began learning to brew beer in 1969, under the guidance of another sister who had produced Mallesdorf’s beer since the 1930s, before taking over the Abbey’s operation in 1975.

On Brautag — brewing day — Doris wakes up at 3:30am to make her way to the brewhouse, excusing herself from morning prayers.

The complex process includes fermenting the beer for one week in the cellar, before allowing it to rest for around six weeks.

Doris is the last surviving nun brewmaster in Europe, and one of only a handful of female brewers in the region, but the monastery says that historically, women are at the heart of the craft beer industry.

“Actually beer is women’s business,” Doris told Vice., “It was part of the household,” she added, referring to how housewives were responsible for brewing their families’ own supplies of ale.

Since the early days of monasticism, both monasteries and abbeys have always brewed their own beer. Brewing in Mallersdorf Abbey, according to records, began in 1623.

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