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Even in the "low season" it's so busy. And the summer bookings are coming in on a fast tempo.

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maandag 10 februari 2014

Trappists ?

Here’s another thing on beer, and this time it’s about the heavier stuff: Trappists.

The first mistake most people make is to say that Trappist is a kind of beer. No, it’s a reference to the origin of the beer! These beers are brewed by monks, specifically by monks of the Cistercian Order. The name “Trappist” is a derivative of the abbey “Notre-Dame de la Grande Trappe” (or in English “La Trappe Abbey”), one of the founding abbeys of the order of the Trappists.
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.

Now what does it take to name something a Trappist?

  1. The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Trappist breweries are constantly monitored to assure the irreproachable quality of their beers.
Another mistake that is sometimes made is to say an abbey-beer is a Trappist. No, a Trappist is an abbey-beer, but not every abbey-beer is a Trappist. An example? Ok, the beer Collin Farrel drinks when he sees the movieset in the film “In Bruges” is Leffe. The beer is produced in the vicinity of the abbey, but by or under supervision of the monks.

Now, the Trappist are:

·         “Achel” from the St Benedict abbey (Belgium)
·         “Chimay” from Notre-Dame de Scourmont abbey (Belgium)
·         “Orval” from Orval abbey (Belgium)
·         “Rochefort” from Notre-Dame de St Remy abbey (Belgium)
·         “Westmalle” from Our-Lady of the Holy Heart abbey (Belgium)
·         “Westvleteren” from St Sixtus abbey (Belgium)
·         “La Trappe“ from the abbey Koningshoeven (Netherlands)
·         “Zundert” from Mary Refuge abbey (Netherlands)
·         “Spencer” from St Joseph’s abbey in Spencer (Massachusetts – US)
·         “Engelszell” from Stift Engelszell (Austria)
One last thing before you start. There are different types, “Enkel” or single, “Dubbel” or double and “Trippel” or triple.
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 !