A Little History on Trappist Breweries

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Although Belgium beer is brewed throughout the country the best beer is produced by Monks.  Even though they are forbidden from partaking in the brew themselves they have a wonderful reputation for producing great beer.  These are called Trappist beers.

Currently, there are only eight Trappist Monasteries in the world producing these beers with six of them located in Belgium where the process began in mid-1500’s.  One of the oldest breweries, Achel, can be traced back to 1648 although it was destroyed in the French Revolution and revised in 1844.  Like many of the breweries they struggled through the first World War when copper was confiscated for use in the war but have since began brewing again.

Chimay is the most popular Trappist beer consumed in the United Kingdom and comes in a large variety of tastes and strengths.  This beer began being brewed around 1860 by the Cistercian Trappist Monks of Chimay and comes in a variety of names such as Premiere, Grand Reserve and Cinq Cents.

Even though Orval Monastery has been brewing since 1529 the beer being sold today did not begin to be brewed until 1931.  It is produced from English hops using unique techniques to achieve its distinct taste.  An interesting note, the beer comes in a distinct bottle that has remained unchanged for the past 80 years.

Westvleteren trappist beer

Another favorite comes from the Rochefort brewery which was founded in 1595 and has never quit brewing.  They only produce three beers Rochefort 6, 8 and 10 which defines their strength.  The least produced one is Rochefort 6 with Rochefort 8 found in many pubs.  As an example, many standard beers run around 4% alcohol content whereas the Rochefort 10 runs a cool 11.2%.

What makes Trappist beers unique other than their distinctive and creative flavors is that selling it is what supports the Monasteries and their local communities.  You can contribute today by purchasing these fine beers online and having them delivered to your doorstep.  A great way to support a religious organization don’t you think?

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