For true beer lovers, there is nothing quite like a Belgian Trappist beer. But what exactly is a Trappist beer? And what makes Belgian Trappist beer so special? Read on to find out.
The history of Trappist beer dates back to the Middle Ages when monks began brewing beer as a way to fund their monasteries. Over time, the monks perfected their brewing techniques and developed a reputation for producing high-quality beers.
Today, there are only 10 breweries in the world that are certified to produce authentic Trappist beers: five in Belgium, two in Netherlands, one in Austria, one in Italy, and one in the United Kingdom. In order to receive the coveted Trappist certification, breweries must meet a number of strict criteria set forth by the International Trappist Association, including that they must be located within or near a monastery and that the monks must play a role in the brewing process.
List of actively brewing Trappist breweries (September, 2022)
- Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle, Belgium, 1836
- Brouwerij Westvleteren (St Sixtus), Belgium, 1838
- Bières de Chimay, Belgium, 1863
- Brouwerij de Koningshoeven (La Trappe), Netherlands, 1884
- Brasserie de Rochefort, Belgium, 1899
- Brasserie d'Orval, Belgium , 1931
- Stift Engelszell, Austria, 2012
- Brouwerij Abdij Maria Toevlucht (Zundert), Netherlands, 2013
- Tre Fontane Abbey, Italy, 2015
- Mount St Bernard Abbey (Tynt Meadow), England, 2018
So what makes Trappist beer so special? In addition to being produced according to traditional methods that have been perfected over centuries, Belgian Trappist beers are also known for their complex flavour profiles. Unlike mass-produced commercial beers that tend to be light and easy-drinking, Belgian Trappist beers are often dark and robust with notes of caramel, chocolate, coffee, and fruit. They are truly a delight for the senses.
If you're a fan of good beer, then you owe it to yourself to try a Trappist beer, from Belgian or elsewhere, brewed according to traditional methods passed down through centuries by monks who know a thing or two about crafting a delicious beverage. With their complex flavour profiles and robust aromas, Trappist beers are sure to please even the most discerning palate. So next time you're at your local bar or grocery store, be sure to pick up a bottle (or two) of this truly unique style of beer. Cheers!