I have to admit I am not a beer drinker. Never have been and at age 72 probably never will be. But I thought I knew a little about beer and brewing it. Then I got this request to write about Trappist beer breweries and got an education.
Right off the top I presumed it would be some of the finest beer in the world since there are only eight Trappist beer breweries in the world all based in western Europe. Although the six breweries in Belgium are the most well-known there is also one in the Netherlands and in Austria.
What is special and unique about this beer? The history of this brewed liquid goes back to 1664 to the Cistercian monastery of La Trappe, France where the then reigning Abbot created strict rules about brewing their beer. The reason for brewing it was that monasteries were expected to be self-sufficient and what better way to do it.
Once the rules are met and the beer meets the strict criteria only then will it carry the label of “Authentic Trappist Product”. Here are the criteria that must be met.
- The beer is brewed by Monks and must be brewed on or near where the monks live.
- The monastic community must be involved in all aspects of brewing the beer including providing the product that creates the beer and managing them. They then must brew the beer using centuries old recipes.
- Income from the sales must be used to support the monastic community with the residual going to support charities.
With this formula it becomes a win-win for the monasteries, the charities and the beer drinking public. I can’t wait to try it.