The order takes its name from La Trappe Abbey or La Grande Trappe, located in the French province of Normandy. A reform movement began there in 1664, in reaction to the relaxation of practices in many Cistercian monasteries.[1] Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé, originally the commendatory abbot of La Trappe, led the reform. As commendatory abbot, de Rancé was a layman who obtained income from the monastery but had no religious obligations. After a conversion of life between 1660 and 1662, de Rancé formally joined the abbey and became its regular abbot in 1663. In 1892 the reformed "Trappists" broke away from the Cistercian order and formed an independent monastic order with the approval of the Pope.

International Trappist Association & Standards (ITA)

In 1997, eight Trappist abbeys—six from Belgium (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle and Achel), one from the Netherlands (Koningshoeven) and one from Germany (Mariawald) – founded the International Trappist Association (ITA) to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from abusing the Trappist name. This private association created a logo that is assigned to goods (cheese, beer, wine, etc.) that respect precise production criteria. For the beers, these criteria are the following:

  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.

This association has a legal standing, and its logo gives the consumer some information and guarantees about the product.

An expansion of ITA recognized breweries took place for the first time in 2012 when the trappist brewery of the abbey of Engelszell, Trappistenbrauerei Engelszell in Engelhartszell, Austria started brewing beer at the monastery (the former production had stopped in 1929) and in the same year obtained the Authentic Trappist Product logo for their beer.

In December 2013, Maria Toevlucht's abbey (Zundert, the Netherlands) and St. Joseph's Abbey (Spencer, Massachusetts, United States) were both granted the ATP recognition for their trappist beers, followed in 2015 by Tre Fontane Abbey brewery in Rome, Italy.

The German Trappist abbey of Mariawald has not been producing beer since 1953 (however it is a founding member of the Trappist Association and uses the same Authentic Trappist Product logo for its other products).

This association has a legal standing, and its logo gives to the consumer some information and guarantees about the produce.


Abbey beers

The designation "abbey beers" (Bières d'Abbaye or Abdijbier) originally applied to any monastic or monastic-style beer. After introduction of an official Trappist beer designation by the International Trappist Association in 1997, it came to mean products similar in style or presentation to monastic beers.[10] In other words, an Abbey beer may be:

  • produced by a non-Trappist monastery — e.g. Benedictine; or
  • produced by a commercial brewery under commercial arrangement with an extant monastery; or
  • branded with the name of a defunct or fictitious abbey by a commercial brewer; or
  • given a vaguely monastic branding, without mentioning a specific monastery, by a commercial brewer.

In 1999 the Union of Belgian Brewers introduced a "Certified Belgian Abbey Beer" (Erkend Belgisch Abdijbier) logo to indicate beers brewed under license to an existing or abandoned abbey, as opposed to other abbey-branded beers which the trade markets using other implied religious connections, such as a local saint. The requirements for registration under the logo include the monastery having control over certain aspects of the commercial operation, and a proportion of profits going to the abbey or to its designated charities. Monastic orders other than the Trappists can be and are included in this arrangement.

What connoisseurs now recognize as Trappist breweries began operations in 1838. Several French monasteries, however, maintained "working" breweries for 500+ years before the French Revolution (1789–1799) disrupted religious life across the northern French province of Wallonia. Even then, some Abbey beers such as Affligem Abbey, whose name now appears on beers made by the Heineken-owned Affligem Brewery, resumed brewing from "working" monasteries until the occupation of most of Belgium in World War I. Commercial Abbey beers first appeared during Belgium's World War I recovery.

Although Abbey beers do not conform to rigid brewing styles, most tend to include the most recognizable and distinctive Trappist styles of brune (Belgian brown ale, aka dubbel), strong pale ale or tripel, and blonde ale or blond.[10][14] Modern abbey breweries range from microbreweries to international giants, but at least one beer writer warns against assuming that closeness of connection with a real monastery confirms a product's quality.

As of 2011 eighteen certified Abbey beers existed:

  1. Abbaye de Cambron, brewed in Silly by Brasserie de Silly.
  2. Abbaye de Bonne Espérance, brewed in Quenast by Lefebvre Brewery.
  3. Abdij Dendermonde, brewed in Merchtem by Brouwerij De Block
  4. Abbaye de Saint-Martin, historically referenced to 1096, is brewed near Tournai by Brasserie Brunehaut.
  5. Affligem, produced for Affligem Abbey by a Heineken-owned brewery.
  6. Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu is located on the grounds of a former abbey.
  7. Bornem is brewed in Oost-Vlaanderen by Brouwerij Van Steenberge
  8. Ename is brewed in Oost-Vlaanderen by Brouwerij Roman.
  9. Floreffe is brewed to fund a school housed in a former monastery.
  10. Grimbergen, made by the large Alken Maes brewery for an extant Norbertine abbey.
  11. Keizersberg is brewed in Oost-Vlaanderen by Brouwerij Van Steenberge.
  12. Leffe, the Abbey brand of Stella Artois, itself part of the multinational Inbev corporation, is brewed under licence from an extant brewery. It is thought to be the first such arrangement. Leffe has global distribution.
  13. Maredsous, the Abbey brand of Duvel Moortgat, Belgium's second largest brewer, licensed from Maredsous Abbey.
  14. Postel is brewed in Opwijk by Brouwerij De Smedt .
  15. Ramée is brewed in Purnode by Brasserie du Bocq.
  16. St. Feuillien is a small independent brewery.
  17. Steenbrugge is brewed in Brugge by Brouwerij De Gouden Boom .
  18. Tongerlo is brewed in Boortmeerbeek by Brouwerij Haacht .

Other non-certified Abbey beers include:-

  • Abbaye des Rocs is made by a farmers' co-operative and named after a local ruined abbey.
  • Kasteelbier, monastic style beers brewed in a castle.
  • The St. Bernardus brewery, based on Watou originally brewed under contract for the abbey of St Sixtus at Westvleteren, but continues on an independent basis, in parallel with production at the monastery itself. Their range is considered a close match in recipe and style to the St Sixtus beers, which can be hard to obtain outside the area.
  • Tripel Karmeliet, with a three-grain recipe, is produced by Bosteels Brewery, an independent brewery who also make Pauwel Kwak

Amber ales

These are beers similar to the traditional pale ales of England, although less bitterly hopped. A notable example is the 5% abv De Koninck brand, with its distinctive spherical glasses (called 'bollekes'). It is popular in its native city of Antwerp. Another is Palm Speciale. Some, such as Vieux Temps (nl), were based on British styles to please troops stationed in Belgium during World War I. Others were introduced by the UK-born brewer George Maw Johnson in the late 19th century. A very strong ambrée is brewed by "Bush" (Dubuisson), another brewery influenced by British styles.

Wallonian amber or ambrée ale, such a La Gauloise (nl) Ambrée, is considered to be somewhat distinct by some beer writers, and to be influenced by the French version of the ambrée style.

Blonde or golden ale

Duvel, a typical blond Belgian ale

These are a light variation on pale ale, often made with pilsner malt. Some beer writers regard blonde and golden ales as distinct styles, while others do not. Duvel is the archetypal Belgian blonde ale, and one of the most popular bottled beers in the country as well as being well-known internationally. Its name means "Devil" and some other blonde beers follow the theme—Satan, Lucifer and Judas for example. The style is popular with Wallonian brewers, the slightly hazy Moinette being the best-known example. Chouffe can be considered a spiced version (with coriander).


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Source of Information: Wikipedia