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BUT FIRST TO TANTALIZE YOUR TAST BUDS THE LOW DOWN ON TRAPPIST ALES.
“Trappist" - This term is
properly applied only to a brewery in a monastery of the Trappist Order, one of
the most severe orders of monks. This order, established at La Trappe, in
The term "trappist" fell into use in the years between WWI and WWII, popularized by Chimay (1850). It was there that Father Theodore and the famed brewing scientist Jean De Clerck developed much of the brewing theory that makes Trappist beers what they are.
Between these abbeys about 20 beers are brewed. All are top-fermenting, relatively to very strong, bottle conditioned ales.
ORVAL: The Notre-Dame d'Orval is the oldest of the brewing monasteries, founded in the 11th century by Benedictine monks. Interruptions to the monastic way of life (the French Revolution and the Napoleonic period) caused a religious exodus from France and the establishment of several Belgian abbeys in addition to those that already existed. Several of these abbeys typically began producing beer for internal use, then expanded to commercial production, selling first locally before making their beer available on a larger scale. The single beer they produce is probably the driest of the Trappist ales. At 6.2% abv a unique very bitter beer, nice spicyness and a bit sour alá Lambik. This is a beer which I have never tasted anything similar to! Another one of those "must-try-beers".
CHIMAY:, This monestary has a history of taking beer production very seriously. After World War II the legendary brewing scientist Jean De Clerck was a major factor in re-establishing the brewery. Their 3 beers are available in a variety of sizes, including magnum bottles of Grand Reserve. They are Red, White & Blue. The Red pours brown in colour with a tint of red, the head doesn’t last long. The aroma is malty, with caramel. The flavour is full of caramel and yeast, but also a bit of dark fruit. The aftertaste is a bit bitter, which makes a good balance
WESTMALLE: The orginator of the widely imitated triple style. The abbeys full name id Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Founded in 1794 it began making beer in the early 19th century. Beer production became commercial in 1920. The produce a Dubbel, Extra, & Triple. The Dubbel is very dark, with full malty, raisiny, curranty and alcohol aromas and a mellow, smooth, but rich dark malt palate. mmmm
WESTVLETEREN: The smallest producer of the brewing abbeys. The village in the province of West Flanders, Belgium. It is a section of the municipality of Vleteren. Westvleteren is primarily known for the Westvleteren Brewery a brewery founded in 1838 inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren. Its beers have often been rated best in the entire world the Abt 12 A dark brown beer with a beautiful head. It has an aroma of caramel and fruit. It is very sweet and slightly bitter and has a fruity taste that tickles your tongue slightly (the alcohol?) Definitely a great beer. They also do a “6” Blonde, & an Extra 8.
ROCHEFORT: Actually known as Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy, this monastery began brewing in 1595 their 3 beers are all dark and very moorish ales. Otto’s favourite’s brewery, but the best one is the “10” One of the very best Trappistes I’ve tried. Very well-balanced considering the high abv of 11.3%. A nice taste of raisins, caramell, green bananas, portwine, toffee, roasted malts. A "must-try-beer". The others are “6” & “8”
ACHEL: This newest Trappist brewery resembles a brewpub. They do food and beer and tables both inside & on an outdoor patio. Father Thomas of Westmalle started the brewery; the current brewer is Brother Jules. When Achel first became available the general buzz was that it was clearly the inferior Trappist ale. But it did not take long for that to change, favour for this one has been steadily increasing. They do a Blonde and a Brune, I prefer the Brune with aromas of dark fruits and stuff. Flavours are caramel toffee, pepper/chilli, liquorice.
LA TRAPPE : The most commercial
of the Trappist brewing entities and the only one not in Belgium. In
1999 this brewery was removed from the Trappist group because of a buy out by
For more information on the various styles of beer, please check out my Beer Styles Page.