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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 11:45 GMT
Cathedral revives beer tradition
Canterbury Cathedral
Beer was made by monks at the cathedral during the Middle Ages
Canterbury Cathedral is reviving the ancient monastic tradition of making beer available within its precincts.

The Kent cathedral is selling a bottled bitter which is made by local brewer Shepherd Neame according to a 300-year-old Kentish recipe.

Canon Richard Marsh said beer was made on site by the monastic community in Canterbury between 1100 and 1538.

He hopes Cathedral Ale "will remind people of the fun and friendship of a visit to the cathedral".

Safer than water

Shop manager Chris Needham said: "We wanted a beer that was local as we are very keen to support local businesses.

"It's our celebration ale and brewed using traditional methods in our Faversham brewery," said Tracey Jepson of Shepherd Neame, which was established in 1698.

During the Middle Ages, beer was considered safer than water because the brewing process killed off bacteria.

It was often brewed by monastic communities but this tradition was halted when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 16th century.

Proceeds from the sale of the ale will go towards the upkeep of the cathedral.

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