The Travel Geek

Where Angels Wear Gas Masks and Monks Make Beer

The monks of the Augustijnen Monastery in Ghent (Sint Stefanus) are poly-skilled; along with the religious portion of their job, they are also highly skilled in making specialty beer and have done so since 1295.

The Abbey beer that Augustijnen was once famous for is now made in the Van Steenberge Brewery in Ertvelde (since 1978) and is still called St. Stefanus. But, the monks at the Abbey now only brew Trappist beers; the Trappist order is a strict Catholic Order that originated in France in the 17th century and in order for the beer to be considered “Trappist” it needs to be brewed by monks within the walls of an ATP accredited monastery. The brewing process is a strictly regimented part of the monk’s monastic life and the resulting beer is tested repeatedly to assure that it is flawless. There are only eleven monasteries in the world that make Trappist beer.

Outside the monastery, on the riverside, you’ll find a statue of an angel wearing a gas mask. I originally thought it was a piece of art that came out of World War 1, but after talking to one local I discovered that it was rather newish addition to the city. The artist’s intent was to show that we’ve made such a mess of our planet that when the Seven Angels of the Apocalypse (with seven trumpets) descend to earth, they’ll need to wear gas masks to breathe.

Several people on the interwebs have noted that the statue is an accidental Doctor Who crossover between the Weeping Angels and the little boy from The Empty Child.

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