The maze of abbey beers.
03 / 2015
A trappist beer is an abbey beer, but an abbey beer isn't necessarily a trappist beer. Moreover, not any abbey beer has been recognized as being a real abbey beer. And do monks even still brew their beers themselves? The world of abbey beers is very much a maze of its own. Yet, it's still worth having a look there. Meet the Benjamin of the family, the black sheep and the naughty trappist.
Averbode – Brewery Huyghe –
The abbey which is probably best known for their youth magazines Zonnekind, Zonnestraal or Zonneland, or perhaps for their delicious ice creams in Averbodelaan, is since last year also synonymous to beer, cheese and bread. The beer makes perfect sense as from the 14th until the 20th century it was still brewed by monks. Brewery Huyghe has gained the trust of the Norbertines of Averbode to produce their beer on the condition that everything is done in the utmost serenity honoring their values. That's the reason why the label is so sober and simple, yet very elegant. This recognized Belgian abbey beer is a very exquisite and refreshing blond multi-grain beer of 7,5 % which goes down smoothly because of the oat and spelt. It has a very fruity and flowery nose by adding different kinds of hops during the ripening of the beer.
More info: www.averbodia.be
Augustin Blond – Brewery Vansteenberge –
This blond beer of Brewery Van Steenberge dates from 1295, and is linked to the Augustin abbey in Ghent. Its nose is a bouquet of sweet fruit and it has a light hint of vanilla in its taste. A delicious beer of which part of the royalties goes to the monks of the abbey monastery. So this means that all criteria are met when it comes to being recognized as a Belgian abbey beer? Wrong! This isn't an abbey beer, it's a monastery beer. A bit bizarre, no? Certainly when looking at the difference between a monastery and an abbey beer. A monastery can rightly refer to non-Christian societies, but this isn't the case here. If something doesn't make sense in history, it usually has something to do with politics, money or God. Somewhere in between lies the reason why this fine monastery beer had become the black sheep of the abbey beers.
More info: www.vansteenberge.com
"The world of abbey beers is very much a maze of its own. Yet, it's still worth having a look there."
La Trappe Blond – Brewery De Koningshoeven –
You recognize a trappist by the logo ‘authentic trappist product’. For this even more criteria need to be met than for an abbey beer. The beer needs to be brewed within the walls of an abbey by or under the supervision of monks, and all proceeds need to be invested in the abbey's community. If there would still be a surplus, this money needs to be donated to charity. Due to an agreement with the major brewery company Bavaria, La Trappe - a Dutch trappist beer - lost its logo in 1998. This "naughty" trappist was slapped on the fingers because the origin of the beer wasn't clear enough anymore. Five years later, when the contract expired, the monks succeeded to include a clear division in the new agreement. And it worked, the logo could again be placed on the bottle. Being naughty or not, it surely tastes well. Brewmaster Lodewijk Swinkels finalized the beers of the Abbey Onze Lieve Vrouw of Koningshoeven and it shows. La Trappe Blond smells like peach and grain, has a clear malt taste ending in a round fine bitterness.
More info: www.latrappetrappist.com