In the Cistercian abbey of La Trappe, France, the Catholic Trappist order was founded. The Trappists, like several other monastic orders, began brewing beer in order to support the community and maintain self-sufficiency. Trappist brewers now manufacture beer to support their philanthropic efforts and charities. Trappist monks are the ones who make the beer. The International Trappist Association recognizes thirteen monasteries across the world that produces Trappist beer.
Small in size yet always big on flavor, Trappist beer is an iconic, exclusive and sought-after commodity. If you are fond of the Trappist beer, You can get authentic Trappist beer and many holy religious accessories like fancy beer glasses, Metal Chalices Patens Ciboria, Baroque style goblet from online stores such as Holyart (https://www.holyart.co.uk/liturgical-accessories) . But it’s only by getting to know Trappist beer on a more in-depth level that you can truly appreciate this remarkable global export really stands for.
For those thirsty for knowledge, here are 4 little-known facts about Trappist beer:
1. Trappist beer must fulfill very strict criteria
According to the official rules outlined on the Trappist.be, it is only possible for beer to be labeled as Trappist (legally) if it meets the criteria below:
- 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 follow 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.
All of which technically qualifies Trappist beer production as a charitable enterprise, as making a penny in conventional profits is strictly forbidden.
2. There are only 12 Trappist breweries in the world
That’s not many, because there are close to 20,000 registered breweries worldwide.
Due to the criteria outlined above, there are currently only 12 breweries that can officially and legally label their products as Trappist. These are Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Mont des Cats, Rochefort, Westvleteren, Westmalle, Stift Engelszell, Zundert, Spencer and Tre Fontane.
Most of which are located in Belgium, with a few others scattered around Europe and one in North America.
3. Trappist breweries also produce other items
Also, purely to support charitable causes, Trappist monasteries often produce a wide variety of other artisan products. Examples of these include kinds of honey, chocolates, bread, and other alcoholic beverages – even cheese in some instances.
Additional criteria apply where a Trappist monastery intends to produce and supply other products, but aren’t quite as strict as those that apply to Trappist beer.
4. Abbey beer is not the same thing as Trappist beer
Last but not least, the use of the ‘Abbey beer’ label is essentially an attempt to cash in on the popularity and exclusivity of Trappist beer. Technically speaking, Abbey beer could be practically 100% identical to Trappist beer, in terms of its color, flavor, and quality.
However, Abbey beer is simply beer that is brewed in the Trappist style – not an official Trappist beer brewed in a Trappist monastery. Unless it carries the prestigious “Authentic Trappist Product” label, it’s not a genuine Trappist beer.