At www.novinite.com/newsletter/print.php?id=137665 … the Sofia News Agency is reporting on the discovery of a monastery in Bulgaria that was founded in AD344 b y St Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria. Presumably it would have been based on Egyptian or Sinai models and predates the Candida Casa monastery in Galloway and St Martin monastery in the French Pyrenees. St Athanasius was an important theologian in the early Christian church and is important to Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants alike as he took part in establising key elements in dogmata.
Monasteries in the medieval era became synomynous with the brewing of beer – one only has to think of those Belgian Trappist monks. Beer was produced at monasteries right across western Europe for sale and distribution to local populations. At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319163710.htm there is a piece on pre-Christain beer consumption by the Celts