Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trappist Beer experiment

Trappist beer is beer brewed by Trappist monks.
Monk beer.
There are only seven functioning breweries in the world, six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands; Orval, Westmalle, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Chimay, Achel and La Trappe.

Evan and I love beer and by that I mean, good beer.

We have tried quite a few different types while in the Netherlands and I know that one of Evan's favorite things about Belgian beer, besides the taste, is that it always comes with it's own special glass.


For his birthday, I decided to buy the seven Trappist beers and seven beer glasses for him, to be consumed in over a week, not only on his birthday... (Heaven forbid)
Seven seemed somehow manageable...

Monday, Orval... First beer, first glass. Definitely an interesting flavor. Nice font!

Tuesday, Rochefort. FANTASTIC. The 10 was really amazing. Also, 11% or so. One bottle is more than enough for a party.

Wednesday, Westmalle. Very good, we have tried this one before. The Dubbel is tasty. Nice heavy, unbreakable goblet.

Thursday! Actual Birthday, Westvleteren. An 8 and a blond, which was very dry and refreshing. Very hard to find, we'd tried calling the brewery on the schedule but always get a busy signal. Argh.

Friday, La Trappe Quadrupel in the fancy bottles purchased in Belgium by our wonderful local beer shop, 500 Bieren. I love that place.

So, by the week's end, we were scoffing at anything less than 8% ABV, had no fear of cloudy, warm beer, I had broken the first Orval goblet and it was determined that we had to visit the Achel Brewery in person to get their glass.

Saturday trip!

It was lovely.

(But before we get there, a note about Westvleteren.
It is impossible to get their glass other than by ebay, and I have hope of eventually visiting the brewery, so it was put off. This made the collection sadly incomplete and made the trip to Achel even more necessary.)

We took our bikes on the train to Eindhoven, just under 2 hours, with a couple of good books to read. From Eindhoven, we followed the google mapped directions for "walking" to the Achel Brewery (Muddy sandy, but doable by bicycle). It was about 20K, barely over the border in Belgium. I had checked with my coworkers earlier in the week if I was going to be stopped for papers or thrown in Belgian jail for border crossing.
No, duh.
(I have no sense of scale about some things.)

Here are a few photos.

And finally, Sunday. Chimay. The blue label beer is delicious!!


  1. You make me envious of your beery togetherness!

  2. Or should I say more accurately that I'm Trapped in envy! :)

  3. Is it true that most of the Trappist beers are not brewed by the monks anymore but rather farmed out companies?

  4. I am not sure. La Trappe is fairly commerical. The brewing operations are mostly run by Bavaria, but within the walls of the abbey and under the supervision of the monks. I think at most of the others the monks still brew the beer, although they hire people (or maybe contract caterers) to operate their cafes and shops.

  5. Awesome! You guys are very lucky to have each other! Sounds fantastic!