THERE’S BEEN LOTS OF TALK IN THE CRAFT BEER WORLD LATELY ABOUT “AUTHENTICITY.” IT DOESN’T GET MORE AUTHENTIC THAN REAL TRAPPIST ALES!

 

TRAPPIST BEERS

The Trappists are a members-only group of Cistercian monasteries which produce high-quality Abbey Ales, cheeses, preserves and other products to support their missions. There are currently eleven breweries which may use the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo on their beers: six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, one in the US, one in Italy. To find out more about the Trappist mission, you can visit the International Trappist Association website.

We are proud to now represent FIVE of the Trappist Breweries. Three from Belgium (Orval, Westmalle & Rochefort), one from the Netherlands (La Trappe) and a NEW one from ITALY called TRE FONTANE!
 

TRE FONTANE (Italy) – The Abbey of the Tre Fontane is located in Rome in the sacred place where the martyrdom of St. Paul occurred in 67 AD. The Abbey takes its name from the three fountains which miraculously appeared where the head of the apostle hit the ground in three locations after he was beheaded. Hence the name, Tre Fontane (Three Fountains). Today the Abbey is surrounded by beautiful eucalyptus trees which were planted by Monks starting in 1870. These trees were planted with the belief that eucalyptus had healing qualities that could prevent malaria. In actuality,  eucalyptus does not prevent malaria.  However, the trees do require a tremendous amount of water, therefore draining the surrounding swampy terrain.  As a result the mosquitos, which later were determined to be the actual cause of malaria, disappeared as the swamps dried up. In 1873 with in-depth knowledge of the trees, the Trappist community began production of Eucalyptus oils and extracts. These products have strong balsamic and antiseptic properties with intense,  aromatic scent. They are also  a pleasant digestive. In early 2000, thanks to the discovery of an ancient beer recipe, the monks began brewing Tre Fontane using the surrounding eucalyptus as a spice.  Several years of intense work have now improved the quality, and finally in May of 2015, Tre Fontane  Tripel  was awarded the ATP brand (Authentic Trappist Product). Tre Fontane is the 11th Trappist Beer in the world and the only Trappist Brewery from the ancient holy city of  Rome.

TASTING NOTES: Honeyish, mildly herbal with a subtle Eucalyptus aftertaste. Mildly spicy and balanced by a stiff bitterness. Dry finish with residual malt, fruit, and hops. 8% ABV. LIMITED AVAILABILITY!

ORVAL (Belgium) – Brewed and bottle-conditioned at Notre Dame d’Orval monastery, founded around 1070 CE in the pastoral Belgian countryside. According to legend, Princess Matilda was passing through this region in about 1070 with her retinue. She stopped at a clear spring and trailed her hand in the water – and her wedding ring, a gift of her recently-deceased husband, slipped off her finger and sank. Distraught, she knelt and prayed fervently for its return . . . and a trout swam to the surface with the ring in its mouth, returning it to her. She is said to have claimed “Truly, this is a golden valley!” (French: Or = gold; val = valley) She gave the land to the church, and the trout with the gold ring can be seen to this day in the Orval logo. Orval only sells one beer in the US: ORVAL TRAPPIST ALE. Three different malts, two types of hops, Belgian candi sugar, complex fermentation with multiple yeasts, dry-hopping and bottle conditioning all contribute to great character and complexity. This vintage-dated and unique beer can be cellared up to five years. (“Oude Orval” stickers are available for those accounts who chose to cellar it.) Sunset-orange color; a fruity and slightly acidic bouquet, firm body, profound hop bitterness, and long, dry finish. Orval is bottled with Brettanomyces, a yeast strain that leads to superb dry complexity and ageworthiness. Food pairing suggestions: Mild semisoft cheese, warm brown bread, fresh pears, steamed mussels, clams in Pernod cream sauce, oysters, smoked salmon and trout, and calamari. 99 on RateBeer.com.

WESTMALLE (Belgium) – The monastery – “Abdij der Trappisten van Westmalle” – is located in the village of West Malle, Province of Antwerp, Belgium, and was founded in 1794. The brewers take great pride in maintaining careful control over the brewing process – all hops are added by hand and no chemical additives of any kind are found in Westmalle ales: they are the flavor of nature, of tradition, and of dedication. Brewing began soon after founding, and Westmalle Dubbel was first brewed for consumption within the Abbey around 1836; Westmalle Tripel was introduced in 1934. Both the Dubbel and the Tripel are considered by many tasters as the benchmarks for the style. Westmalle is one of only eleven Trappist breweries in the world.

  • Westmalle Dubbel – When monastic communities began to brew an ale for sale to the public, it was often a stronger brew than the ale the community consumed in the abbey. Brewing scholars aren’t certain, but in the days before universal literacy, this “second style” could have had the barrels marked with two X’s . . . which possibly led to the name “dubbel.” Brown-amber color, subtle dark-malt aroma balanced by Belgian yeast character. Deeply malty, with a gentle, dry finish that hints at tropical fruit. Food pairings: After dinner with espresso, paired with sweeter soft cheeses. Try with beef remoulade and rich sauces, or with vegetable soup, or with root vegetables: carrots, beets, parsnips. Pairs beautifully with morel or chanterelle mushrooms. 99 on RateBeer.com and 96 from the BeerAdvocate “Bros”.
  • Westmalle Tripel – The tripel style was originated at Westmalle starting in 1931; it was first sold in 1934. The name “tripel” probably comes from the protocol established by “dubbel” – it was the brewery’s “third beer.” There are hundreds of breweries producing tripels today, but a tripel will always be stronger and lighter-colored than a dubbel from the same brewery. Glowing orange-gold color, herbal aroma, and complex flavors that meld rich malt sweetness, warmth, hops, and powerful drinkability. Food pairing: As an aperitif with cheese or assorted hors d’ oeuvres. Try with rich main courses or enjoy after dinner with fresh fruits and cheese. Westmalle Tripel is excellent with fresh steamed asparagus! 99 on RateBeer.com and a perfect 100 from the BeerAdvocate “Bros.”

 

ROCHEFORT (Belgium) – The Abbey of St-Remy, in the southern part of Belgium, was founded in 1230, and the monks began to brew beer sometime around 1595. The beautiful small brewery in the abbey, Rochefort Trappistes, is one of only eleven Trappist breweries in the world and makes full-bodied, deeply flavored dark ales. They are bottle-conditioned and among the world’s most highly-respected beverages. The beers from Rochefort are named after its original gravity measured in “Belgian degrees” – a brewing scale no longer used today.

  • Rochefort 6: First sold to the public in 1953. Reddish-brown color with amber-gold highlights; soft body leads to earthy flavors and an herbal character. Refined, soft spiciness in the bouquet finishes with a bit caramel. Bottle-conditioned for soft natural carbonation. 7.5% ABV. Food pairing:  Cream soups and rich dishes; can support vinaigrette dressing. Wonderful to clear the palate when served with concentrated, creamy foods. Also great with burgers! 98 on RateBeer.com.
  • Rochefort 8: Originally called “Spécial,” Rochefort 8 dates to the mid-1950s. Deep brown color; the flavor is vigorous and complex, with firm body to support the strength. The aroma has elusive notes of fresh fruit, spice, leather, and figs. 9.2% ABV. Food pairing:  Great with full-flavored dishes like pate, duck, or wild game; shows well with strong-flavored cheeses. Also wonderful alone as an aperitif. Perfect 100 on RateBeer.com!
  • Rochefort 10:Although written records of brewing at Rochefort date to 1595, Rochefort 10 was developed in the late 1940s and early 50s. It appears on virtually every list of the world’s finest beers. This 11.3% ABV Quadrupel is dark brown in color. Great strength balanced by a complexity of flavors and firm malt backbone. The bouquet covers a wide range: port wine, leather, apricots, oak, spices – a deeply intriguing beverage. Food pairings:  Lamb shanks with juniper berries, wild chanterelle mushrooms, truffles, or dishes with intensely reduced sauces. Perfect 100 on RateBeer.com! ).