MOUNT ANGEL — Morning comes softly here.
There are no cars, no sirens, no trash trucks, no dogs. Only a hundred chattering birds and the swish of a monk’s tunic. The air and earth are blue, and Mount Angel Abbey feels isolated from the woes of the world.
It’s 5 a.m., and Father Martin Grassel has been awake for nearly two hours. He’s buoyant — rising after 3 a.m. is a luxury. This is his time to pray, exercise and work at his makeshift brewery before the other monks emerge from their rooms.
“One of the first things you learn about brewing is that it’s all about cleanliness,” he says, taking a seat at a folding table inside an old stone building he uses for brewing, a hobby he hopes to grow into a source of income for the monastery.