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What Are Trappist Beers?

11th May 2015

Over the last while we have been significantly increasing our range of  Belgium beer and while there are a mass of styles that are popular and unique to Belgium, there is one type that gets requested more than any other; Trappist Beer.

Truth be told, this is not a type of beer that is only found in Belgium, with eleven monasteries worldwide (six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, with one each in Austria, Italy and the US) that currently brew beer and sell their beer as 'Authentic Trappist Product’.

The Trappist order originated in 1664, however beer has been brewed by monasteries since the Middle Ages. Originally the purpose was to supply beer both for the Monks and also to help feed the community. Nowadays within the Trappist order, the beer is brewed to fund the Monks’ work and to support good causes. To be called a Trappist brewery there are a number of  strict conditions each must meet. 

The beers brewed are typically high in alcohol and include the styles  Dubbel (6-8% abv), Tripel (8-10% abv) and Quadrupel (above 10% abv), they are a light to strong brown in colour and are more sweet in flavour. To understand the differences check out our blog Double, Triple & Quadruple Definitions in Beer.

While over 171 Trappist monasteries exist, only eleven are allowed to carry the ‘Authentic Trappist Product’ logo. For the others they may call their beer an  Abbey Ale

Those breweries which can call their product 'Authentic Trappist Product' are:

From Belgium:

Brouwerij der Sint-Benedictusabdij de Achelse Kluis (Achel)

Bières de Chimay

Brasserie d'Orval

Brasserie de Rochefort

Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle

Brouwerij Westvleteren/St Sixtus

From The Netherlands:

Brouwerij de Koningshoeven (La Trappe)

Brouwerij Abdij Maria Toevlucht (Zundert)

From Austria:

Stift Engelszell

From the US:

St. Joseph’s Abbey (Spencer)

From Italy:

Tre Fontane Abbey

From England:

Mount St Bernard Abbey (Tynt Meadow)

From Spain:

Cerveza Cardena Trappist

From France:

Mont des Cats

Another Trappist monastery,  Mont des Cats in France sells a 'Trappist' beer which is brewed under agreement at Chimay in Belgium.