So, how did beer brewed by men of the cloth become so popular around the world? Well, the answer comes down to trust. Most commercial breweries are under pressure to make as much money as they can and as quickly as possible, which doesn’t sit well with the process of brewing the best alcohol. Monasteries don’t face the same financial pressure as commercial breweries since all the monks have to do is study, pray and brew and most of the money they make from their beers go to charity. They have all the time in the world to perfect their beers and age them for long enough so that the taste comes out perfectly and the purity is unbeatable. You would agree if you tasted any of these 10 beers.
So, in early 2021, the last monk retired from the Achel brewery and that also meant that they lost their license as a Trappist beer but it is still a traditional monastery brewery and one of the best in the world at that. The beer is brewed in the Achel brewery in Belgium. It is one of the most recent of the six Trappist breweries in Belgium brewed by the monks from the Abbey of St. Benedict in Hamont-Achel. It has since lost its Trappist license but the three Achel beers sold all over Europe with Achel Extra as their main product being loved all over the world.
Westmalle Dubbel and Westmalle Tripel are considered two of the hardest beers to lay hands-on in the world until your order from the Westmalle Abbey in Antwerp Belgium gets processed. The monastery was opened in 1794 and brewed its earliest beer for consumption within the monastery in the 1830s. Its brands of Trappist beers hit the market in the 1930s and they are still considered the best beers in the world.
Other people argue that Westvleteren makes the best beer in the world. During the covid pandemic, rumours emerged that their beer had been located in a supermarket in France causing the monks to open their website and start selling online for the first time in the monastery’s history. The monks don’t allow the commercial resale of their priced beers. They have three main beers namely Westvleteren 8, Westvleteren 12 and Westvleteren blonde.
They say in their motto that they brew to live, not live to brew. The Westvleteren abbey is one of the six Trappist abbeys in Belgium and their beer has earned itself a name at the top. The abbey only sells directly to private consumers though, so if you want a taste of their beer, you have to order and go pick it yourself once it is ready.
Chimay is another Trappist beer loved all over the world since. The first Chimay beer was brewed in 1862 after the prince of Chimay gave a piece of land to Trappist monks who then converted it to a fertile land now used as a dairy farm and also a brewery called the Scourmont Abbey. Chimay is now one of the oldest Trappist breweries in Belgium with most of their beer consumed abroad. The hero of the brewery is the famous Rev. Father Theodore who discovered the perfect yeast used to brew most modern Chimay beers in the 1940s. There are three main Chimay beers consumed globally now but Chimay Red is the best of all.
The La Trappe brewery is another monastery owned brewery in Berkel-Enschot, the Netherlands famous for producing the world’s first-ever squad, a deep amber ale with a warm taste considered to be one of the rarest ales in the world. It is also a Trappist beer since the brewing is coordinated by the monks from Our Lady Of Koningshoeven monastery in La Trappe Abbey. They produce a variety of beers but their most famous product is the La Trappe Dubbel with 7% alcohol content dabbed the taste of silence.
Orval is the most famous of the six Trappist beers of Belgium regarded as the benchmark for the taste of best beers in the world because of its bitter but warm fruity taste. The beer has been brewed since 1931 by monks at the Notre Dame d`Orval Monastery in Gaume province of Belgium. The golden ale is brewed within the monastery and outsiders are welcome to taste the beer within the monastery. The monastery has been brewing beer since the 17th century but the red ale at 6.2% is the only product offered to the outside world on order. The monastery has more beers that you can sample when you visit though.
It is impossible to mention the world’s best beers without including Rochefort 10, an 11.3% alcohol content beer that has been brewed at the Rochefort monastery since 1952. The Rochefort Brewery started brewing alcohol in the 16th century, although it closed in the 1700s and brewing only resumed in 1889. It is also a Trappist beer with a wide range of products although their globally available brands are the Rochefort 10, 8, 6 and the Tripel Extra launched in 2020. The monastery only brews once a year and gives their beers lots of time to gain flavour and perfect their taste. You have to visit the monastery and make an order personally.
Tre Fontane Tripel
The monastery behind this beer has a hell of a legend behind it. The three fountains where the waters used to brew the beer come from are believed to have started at the three spots where the head of St. Paul hit as it bounced after he was decapitated. It is the Tre Fontane Abbey in Rome which started as early as the 1st century AD although its first beer was only produced in 2015 after the monks discovered the recipe for a eucalyptus-infused beer. The Tre Fontane Tripel has since joined the list of the best Trappist beers from around the world thanks to its mint and eucalyptus flavour added to its blonde appearance and warm taste.
This IS Another Dutch Trappist beer that has been highly reviewed by beer critics and now holds a spot at the top alongside its Belgian counterparts. The Maria Toecvlucht Monastery in the town of Zundert was a milk farm until 2007 when financial troubles caused the monks to switch to brewing and being a Trappist monastery, they got the license to sell under the brand. Their first beer was the leathery brown malty Zundert Trappist 8 Ale which got good reviews with tasters and thus became one of Europe’s most sought after Trappist beers. The monastery has since introduced the Zundert 10 with 10% alcohol which is said to be way better than their first beer.
The Engelszell Abbey in Engelhartszell, Austria is one of Europe’s oldest brewing monasteries having been established in 1292. The monastery may have been brewing beers for years but they only received the Trappist license in February of 2012 for their famous holiday beer Gregorius. The monastery has since become famous for brewing the best holiday Trappist beers with their aromatic taste contributed by honey, special hops and cocoa. The beers are brewed on boats at the monastery and other brands have since emerged in the Engelszell brand including the Benno beer, Stift Engelszell and Nivard Engelszell.
Have you tried any of these beers? Maybe you know of some more that we haven’t mentioned. If you do why not leave a comment in the box below.