A Trappist biere is brewed by or under control of Trappist monks, members of the Cistercian order. At the beginning of 2005, eight Trappist abbeys belonged to the International Trappist Association. Six of them Belgian, one Dutch (Tegelen), and one German (Mariaweld). Only the six in Belgium brew biere – Bières de Chimay, Brasserie d’Orval, Brasserie de Rochefort, Brouwerij Westmalle (pictured to the left), Westvleteren, Brouwerij de Achelse Kluis. Trappist is a licensed term, not a style of biere.
To use the name and the Trappist logo, the biere must meet the following criteria:
The biere must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks. The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community. The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.
These bieres are about as close to heaven as we can get. Please join me in the tasting of Rochefort 8 on thursday.