Each month we’ll be bringing you a selection of our favourite St. Stefanus photographs and the fascinating stories behind them. From the monastery, to the city of Ghent, we will be celebrating both the history and the future of St. Stefanus beer.
This month’s blog feature celebrates the Sint Stefanus Monastery and the Augustinian Order that still lives there. The monastery is one of Ghent’s most striking historical landmarks and dates back to 1295.
The Sint Stefanus floor plan
This photograph shows the original floor plan of the monastery - the brewery can be seen located within the grounds. The monastery was built around the church of Saint Stephanus which dates back to around 1295.
Monks have always brewed beer, working on behalf of the monastery to provide for their community. Beer brewing, and often baking, formed some of these duties.
In 1978, a partnership was formed with the Van Steenberge Brewery. As the monks could no longer compete with modern breweries, the production of St. Stefanus was entrusted to this local brewery in order to protect the recipe and unique yeast strain.
The grounds of the monastery
The monastery is situated in the heart of Ghent, and the grounds include an inner courtyard with landscaped gardens, surrounded by vivid red brick and stained glass windows.
One of the stained glass windows of the monastery features the ‘flaming heart’ of Saint Augustine. Topped by a crown of flames and pierced by an arrow, this treasured symbol encourages Augustinians to participate in and serve the community. Do you recognise the image? It is printed on the crown of every of St. Stefanus beer bottle.
Literature and art
Books and art, including paintings and sculptures, can be seen throughout the monastery, while the library itself boasts a collection of over 3000 monastic scripts.
Want to see more from the monastery? You can view our full image gallery here.