Monday, August 23, 2010

Trappist Beer - Holier than most

Abbey Nortre Dame makers of Chimay

There are 171 monasteries in the world that follow The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, more commonly referred to as Trappists. Of these 171 monasteries 7 of them brew beer. In 1664 the Abbot of La Trappe began feeling that the Cistercians were becoming too liberal, because of this he enacted a strict new code of rules that these monasteries must live by. Since that time, centuries ago, many of these rules have been relaxed. However the rule that the monasteries must remain self sustaining is still followed today.

In 1997, 8 Trappist abbeys became aware that other companies were trying to take advantage of the Trappist name. They formed the International Trappist Association which regulates against this. A logo was created by the ITA for beer, as well as wine, cheese, etc so a consumer would know that these strict Trappist production guild lines were followed:

  • The beer must be brewed under the supervision of Trappist monks and within the walls of a Trappist Monastery.
  • The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
  • The brewery must have an economic purpose that is directed towards assistance of the monastery, not for financial gain.

There are 7 breweries that are allowed to use the "Authentic Trappist Product" logo:

     *Via Wikipedia

via Orval

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