Our next Beer Dinner at Aroma Thyme is featuring great Trappist Beers.
February 20th, 2009
Achel Brune 8%
Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta & Grilled Chorizo Sausage
Chimay Cinq Cents 8 %
Baby Spinach Salad, Roasted Fennel
Ivory King Salmon, Sauteed Mushrooms
Westmalle Dubbel 7%
Slow Braised Pot Roast, Ginger & Orange Essence
Rochefort Ten 11.3%
A Trappist beer is a beer brewed by or under control of Trappist monks. Of the world's 171 Trappist monasteries (as of April 2005), seven produce beer (six in Belgium and one in The Netherlands). Only these seven breweries are authorized to label their beers with the Authentic Trappist Product logo that indicates a compliance to various rules edicted by the International Trappist Association.
The Trappist order originated in the Cistercian monastery of La Trappe, France. Various Cistercian congregations existed for many years, and by 1664 the Abbot of La Trappe felt that the Cistercians were becoming too liberal. He introduced strict new rules in the abbey and the Strict Observance was born. Since this time, many of the rules have been relaxed. However, a fundamental tenet, that monasteries should be self-supporting, is still maintained by these groups.
Monastery brewhouses, from different religious orders, existed all over Europe, since the middle-age. From the very beginning, beer was brewed in French cistercian monasteries following the Strict Observance. For example, the monastery of La Trappe in Soligny, already had its own brewery in 1685. Breweries were only later introduced in monasteries of other countries, following the extension of the trappist order from France to the rest of Europe. The Trappists, like many other religious people, originally brewed beer as to feed the community, in a perspective of self-sufficiency. Nowadays, trappist breweries also brew beer to fund their works, and for good causes. Many of the trappist monasteries and breweries were destroyed during the French Revolution and the World Wars. Among the monastic breweries, the Trappists were certainly the most active brewers: in the last 300 years, there were at least eight Trappist breweries in France, six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, one in Germany, one in Austria, one in Bosnia and possibly other countries.
Today, seven trappist breweries remain active, in Belgium and the Netherlands.
In the twentieth century, the growing popularity of Trappist beers drew some unscrupulous brewers with no connection to the order to label their beers as "Trappist". After unsuccessful trials, monks finally sued one such brewer in 1962 in Ghent, Belgium.