Trappist® Beers

An overview & history


Trappist beer may have originally been brewed as a form of potable water for the monks...

According to the American Homebrewers Association, Trappist beer may have originally been brewed as a form of potable water for the monks – but it quickly became popular outside the monastery walls. Selling the beer within the local community and beyond became an easy way for the monks to earn enough money to maintain the monastery and support their personal needs.

The tradition of Trappist beer continued smoothly until the French Revolution took hold of France in the early 1800s. As upheaval took hold of the region, monasteries were sacked and looted and monks were forced to abandon their breweries.

Over the next hundred years, the Trappists settled in Belgium and began to refocus their efforts on monastic life, resuming beer production as a way to restore and support the monasteries.

Official Trappist Ales

there are 11 breweries that create certified Trappist ales, 12 beers that are allowed to carry the name Trappist

To be designated a Trappist beer, the ITA established the following criteria:

  • Brewing must take place inside the walls of a Trappist monastery and be performed or supervised by monks.
  • Operations of the brewery must come second to the religious pursuits of the monastery and should be conducted in a way that aligns with monastic life.
  • Profits from the beer should be used only to sustain the monastery and its residents, with any excess used to help the needs of the community – but breweries may not make profits.

According to the ITA, there are 11 breweries that create certified Trappist ales – and there are 12 beers that are allowed to carry the name Trappist.

Because Mont de Cats beer is brewed offsite at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont, it’s not allowed to bear the Authentic Trappist Product logo, but it is considered a Trappist beer by the ITA.

Stift Engelszell

Beers produced by Stift Engelszell Abbey (Asutria): Gregorius, Nivard, Benno, Weisse Hell and Zwickl.

Stift Engelszell Abbey in Austria (established in 1239) is located in the little village of Engelhartszell, near the Danube River in a valley surrounded by richly forested hills.

The monastery church is Rococo in style, which attracts visitors from all over Europe.

The small Trappist community operates its own beer brewery and liqueur distillery. The monks also produce honey from their own bees and make pralines with Engelszell Liquor.


Brewed by Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont, Belgium

Chimay Trappist® beer, available in various types such as Chimay Blond, Rood, Tripel, Blauw, and Blauw in wooden casks, produced at Scourmont Abbey. The Chimay beers carry the “Authentic Trappist Product” label.

Scourmont Abbey near Chimay was built in 1850 by a group of monks from Westvleteren Abbey. The Trappists have been producing Chimay beers and cheeses in their own brewery and cheese production facility for more than a hundred years.

They do this with about a hundred employees, primarily lay people from the area, thereby making an important contribution to employment opportunities.

The monks have set up a special foundation for their contributions to social projects: the “Chimay Wartoise Foundation.”


Available as Brown & Blond produced by the Achelse Kluis brewery, Belgium.

Achel Trappist® , available as Bruin (Brown) and Blond in two strengths: 8% and 9.5%, produced by the Achelse Kluis brewery.

The Achelse Kluis (St. Benedictus Abbey) is located on the border of North Brabant (Netherlands) and North Limburg (Belgium).

The abbey was founded in 1846 by the Trappist monks of Westmalle, of which it depends entirely today..

The brewery cannot be visited, however beer can be tasted in a café located in the former abbey stables, where the copper vats used for brewing can be seen.

There is also an abbey shop and a bookshop.

La Trappe

Produced by Koningshoeven Abbey (Netherlands), consisting of 9 different Trappist beers made with natural ingredients.

La Trappe is genuinely brewed ale. But it tastes of more than that. When you taste it carefully, you recognise the most important ingredient that is inextricably connected to the monks. The tranquillity.

In 1881, fleeing French monks founded Our Lady of Koningshoeven Abbey on what once had been the property of King William II near Tilburg.

The abbey currently houses a community of Trappist monks who all work in various artisanal industries.

The monks also make organic cheese, chocolates, bread, and honey, all of which are sold in the abbey shop. All who would like to taste the beer are welcome to do so in the Tasting Room, housed in a small café in the abbey's public gardens.


a high fermentation beer produced by Our Lady of Saint-Remy Abbey in Rochefort, Belgium

Rochefort comes in 3 types: 6, 8 and 10

Our Lady of Saint-Rémy Abbey in Rochefort, Belgium, was founded in 1230 at the foot of a wooded hill.

In the course of the abbey's history, it was destroyed several times and always rebuilt. For centuries, the monks have been brewing high fermentation Rochefort Trappist® beer; the brewery is still the abbey's major source of income. The monks produce the beer together with a proficient team of employees.

In order to protect the “silent” character of the monastery, the abbey is not open to visitors, however guests are welcome in the guest house and in the church.


Tripel, Dubbel and Extra Trappist®, produced by Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Abbey in Westmalle. Belgium

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Abbey in Westmalle was founded in 1794. The abbey is famous for its Westmalle Dubbel and Tripel beers.

Any income from the sale of these beers is reinvested in the brewery and used to improve the working conditions of the employees. In addition, the Trappist monks make a semi-hard,

ripe cheese from the milk of their own cows. This cheese is only available at the entrance of the abbey and in a few selected stores.

The Trappist monks of Westmalle also receive income from their guest house. The abbey and brewery are not open to the public.


Available in various types such as “Blond”, “8” and “12”, produced by Sint-Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren, Belgium

Sint-Sixtus Abbey became the home of Trappist monks in 1831. They soon started brewing beer to support themselves.

They are still doing this, selling the beer as a non-profit, and requiring customers to make a purchase reservation.

Sint-Sixtus Abbey and brewery are not open to the public, but the abbey does have a guest house where visitors may stay for several days.

Guests are also welcome in “Het Claustrum,” their visitors' centre located across the street from the abbey, where those who are interested can get a glimpse of monastic life.


Produced in the brewery at Maria Toevlucht Abbey, Netherlands

Maria Toevlucht Abbey is located in Zundert, surrounded by woods and meadows.

Trappist monks have lived and worked here since 1900. Since 2013, they have been brewing Zundert Trappist® beer in their own brewery.

The beer is sold in the abbey shop and by many drink retailers.

Spencer Trappist

Produced by Saint Joseph’s Abbey, USA, available in various types.

In 1825, French monks founded the first Trappist monastery in North America, in Tracadie, Nova Scotia.

This group, which also included eight monks from Westvleteren Abbey, grew and the monastery was raised to the status of an abbey in 1876.

After two devastating fires, the community moved to Spencer in 1950, where they founded Saint Joseph's Abbey.

The Trappist monks brew their own Spencer Trappist Ale, produce jam, and make liturgical vestments, the latter being done in collaboration with local tailors


The first Spanish Trappist® beer, produced by the Monastery of St. Peter of Cardeña.

The Monastery of St. Peter of Cardeña is located in the Spanish town of Burgos, in the region of Castilla y León.

According to tradition, the community was established by monks from Monte Cassino in 534 and was a Benedictine monastery until 1835.

In 1948 it became a Cistercian abbey. The Trappist monks make table wine, herbal liqueur and chocolate.

A beer is brewed in Leone under the responsibility of the Abbey.

Mount St. Bernard

Produced by Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, UK

Mount Saint Bernard Abbey was founded as a Trappist monastery in the heart of rural Leicestershire (UK) in 1835.

They have a pottery studio, some beehives, and a newly established beer brewery.

In June 2018, they introduced their first Trappist® beer on the market. It is now for sale in the monastery store as well as via selected marketing channels.


Produced by Orval abbey, Belgium

Orval Abbey is located in Belgium, in the Gaume forest near the French border, is since 1070 the abbey of Orval, rebuilt in 192.

It has been there since 1926. The abbey has had an artisanal cheese making facility since 1928, and a beer brewery since 1931. Ensuring building maintenance and contributions to charity are still one of the objectives of the abbey's beer production.

The brewery is not open to the general public, but the historical part of the abbey is.

The abbey shop is located here, with a large assortment of Trappist products for sale. The abbey also has a guest house where people can make a retreat for several days of reflection.

Tre Fontane

A contemplative monastery in the heart of Rome, Italy

Trappist monks have lived and worked in Tre Fontane Abbey in Rome since the 10th century, while monastic life in this place dates back to the first centuries of Christianity . After 1870, the monks planted many eucalyptus trees here to combat malaria.

Since 2015 they have had a beer brewery where they brew their own beer with a eucalyptus aroma. They also produce olive oil, various types of honey, chocolate, and liqueur. These items can be purchased in the abbey shop. The large abbey includes three churches, all of which are open to guests.

The International Trappist Association

unites twenty one Trappist abbeys worldwide, producers of unique products.

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