Why do Monks make great beer? 10th day

Westmalle Dubbel
Style: Brown Beer
ABV: 7.0%
Size: 330ml (Bottle)

Why do Monks make great beer? 

According to Wikipedia, the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance is a Roman Catholic religious order of cloistered contemplative monastics that follow the Rule of St. Benedict. That probably does mean much to you and me. Unless you know they are commonly referred to as Trappists.  They’re not called Trappist because they are good at trapping things, but rather take their name from Le Trappe Abbey a monastery located in Normandy, France.  

So to answer my opening question; the 48th chapter of the Rule of St benedict states “for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of their hands”. In following this rule Trappist monastaries produce goods for sale to provide income for the monastery. So imagine a Trappist Monastary in a region of Belgium known for producing great beers – that is exactly what the brewery at the Abbey of Westmalle, (or to use its local name, Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle) is famous for. 

Garret Oliver once said when talking about innovation in craft beer: ‘nothing is really new, you’re new’. His point is that brewing has been around for thousands of years. And Westmalle is part of that brewing history. Westmalle only produce two beers. The Trippel, first brewed in 1934 is consider the first ever example of this style – a strong pale ale with a high ABV of 9.5%.  I’ve gone for the original beer from Westmalle, the Dubbel, Legend has it that in 1856 the monks brewed a strong brown beer – now considered the first ever Dubbel.   

Westmalle Dubbel is considered the first of its kind dating back to 1856
Westmalle Dubbel is considered the first of its kind dating back to 1856


Author: Michael Lally

London-based Australian blogger, podcaster and wannabe photographer. Looking to tell great stories about the world of craft beer and the have conversations with the people behind the craft beer scene in the UK.

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