Worldwide you can find ten Trappist-beers. Six of them are located in Belgium (oh yeah!), two in the Netherlands, one in Austria and one in the US.
- The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
- The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life
- The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.
- Trappist breweries are constantly monitored to assure the irreproachable quality of their beers.
Doubles are brown of color, fairly strong (6%-8%), have an understated bitterness, a fairly heavy body and a pronounced fruitiness and cereal character.
Triple range from 8% to 10%, blond color.
The single is the basic recipe of the beer. No Trappist brewery uses this term. Instead “Blond(e)” is more used to describe this type.
One fun story I’ll tell you here. Westvleteren is not available in stores. You need to get it at the monastery itself. But, to get it is kind of difficult. You need to make a reservation by phone, then you get a date to go over there. (Only problem, there’s only one telephone line, so getting the monastery on the phone can be time-consuming.) You show up at the appointment on the given date, your license is registered and you get 1 or 2 crates. Then you have to wait one year before you can use the license again!
In October 2010 renovations were needed and the expenses were higher than first thought, so the monks produced 93.000 extra crates. One year later (October 2011) the public was told these extra crates were going to be available in stores. It took exactly one day to sell all 93.000 crates !