- Marble Hill fires entire sewer department (8/23/16)5
- Ex-Southeast student gets probation for placing homemade sex video on porn site without woman's knowledge (8/24/16)13
- Bootheel lawmaker seeks probe into crop damage by illegal herbicide spraying (8/24/16)1
- The Chrome Queens (8/21/16)2
- Local private school dreams bigger, plans for new building at Sprigg and Lexington (8/22/16)
- Newsmakers 2016: Jason Bandermann (8/15/16)
- New CEO named at Wood & Huston Bank (8/21/16)
- Victims of alleged Ponzi scheme seek compensation from killer's victims (8/21/16)3
- Cape Central football team falls to state-ranked Liberty in Pixley's debut (8/20/16)
- 'Santa' suspect Moffat sentenced to 12 years for sexual abuse of girl (8/23/16)2
Manure threatens Belgium's most famous beer
ROCHEFORT, Belgium -- Water.
Of all the complex mixtures of yeast, malt, sugar and hops that produce great beers, water tops the list of ingredients on the labels of the renowned Trappistes Rochefort.
"Water is just like all the other ingredients -- only more important," Dom Jacques Emmanuel of the Notre Dame de Saint Remy abbey says.
The abbey is one of only a half dozen monasteries where monks still follow the centuries-old Trappist tradition of beer making.
But the water of the Tridaine spring is under threat. As farming has gone industrial, the enemy of Rochefort's Trappist beers has become manure.
Low levels of nitrates contribute to the dark, malty beer's fame and smooth texture. An increase would threaten that, as well as upset the delicate yeast preparations.
Manure brims with nitrates and two events have conspired to force the monks of the Cistercian Order of Strict Obedience to shed their customary reclusiveness and make their complaints heard.
First, a nearby chicken farm wants to expand, and it would create a source of pollution close to the Tridaine spring, Dom Jacques Emmanuel says.
The second threat may be more elusive. The many farms that feed the spring may be used as a dumping ground for surplus manure.
It's a concern shared by beer lovers the world over, who give the abbey's beers top marks.
Said a review of the abbey's Rochefort 10 on the Web site www.beeradvocate.com: "Beer like this gives us a reason to live."