Trappist Brewery visits...

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Chimay... the first
In 2000 my dad Ed and I took our first trip to Belgium in search of beer and visited the first two of our six Trappist breweries. We visited the next 4 in spring of 2001.
Rochefort, our 2nd in as many days
Westvleteren, our 3rd Trappist and the meeting with Malcolm and the boys.
 


Orval, our 4th Trappist and a nice visit with François

Glenn's son Dan enjoying a Westvleteren 12 after winning the New Mexico State Championship Mountain Bike race.

Achel, Trappist number 5 and getting close!

 
This is it... the 6th and last of our Trappist visits!
       
Beer labels for the Trappist beers are shown in Labels - Trappist
Maps showing all six of the Trappist breweries are available in the Travel section, Maps.

What does it mean to be a Trappist beers? Here's what Jeremy Gray learned on his visit to Orval...

Well - this is what I was told at Orval. According to them, there are three requirements that must be met if you want to have the official Trappist seal of approval and use the logo:

1) The production must be under the control of a monk or abbey;
2) The brewery must be within the walls of the abbey at which the community lives;
3) The 'finality of production': charity must have an important part in where the profits of the brewing end up. I thought that this was interesting and worth feeding back here, as I was certainly under the impression that a monk had to be involved in the actual brewing process for it to qualify as Trappist. However, it is clear from the above (which I got
François to clarify and confirm, then I wrote it down!) that all the people actually doing the work in the brewery can be secular, as long as the overall control of the business is done by a monk or the abbey. In the case of Orval, no monks actually work in the brewery, but the Managing Director is a monk, and this therefore meets this criteria for Trappist status. Also, I have not heard the thing about the 'finality of production' before. I have left this as François said it to me, as I liked the expression and feel that it says enough as it is.

So there you have it - straight from source. Cheers! Jeremy Gray

Do Trappist breweries add spices to their beers? I've asked each of the breweries for their repsonse to this question... here are the answers:  
Official Trappist web sites

Achel

Br. Antoine thanks you in the first place four the beautiful photo's. In Achel the don't take spices. Br. Antoine says that your are always welkom! Greetings, Sr. Linda   
Chimay Dear Glenn, We don't use any spice. Thanks for your job and your interest in Chimay beers. Best regards, Dominique DENIS Quality Manager  
Orval No spices added;  
Rochefort For the trappist in Rochefort they take a little bit of Koriander (spices) (part of Achel message)  
Westmalle No spices added  
WestV

Dear Mr.Burnett, In answer to your question regarding the use of spices in our beers, we can inform you that we don't add any kind of spicery. We hope you're helped with this information. Yours sincerely, br.Filip brewer

 
LaTrappe No information regards the use of spices