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Belgian Breweries: The Best Trappist Beer in Belgium

Thursday Jul 9, 2015

In Belgium, beer is serious business. The people in charge of such a serious task are Trappist monks, who create and brew some of the best beer in Belgium in ancient monastic breweries. Belgium is home to six Trappist breweries, with the five others in the world located in the United States, Italy, Holland, and Austria. Trappist beer is renowned for being very strong and only of the highest quality.

Originating in the Cistercian monastery of La Trappe in France, Monastic brew houses have existed throughout Europe since the Middle Ages, and after the French Revolution the practice spread to Belgium and where the monks set up their own Belgian Breweries. The beer was originally to feed the community (as the act of brewing beer sanitized the dirty water), but nowadays Trappist breweries mostly fund their works and charitable causes with the sales of the beer.

In order for a beer to be authentically Trappist it must be: brewed in a Trappist monastery, it must be of secondary importance within the monastery, and it must not be a profit-making exercise. The breweries are monitored to ensure they stick to the highest quality associated with Trappist beer.

Check these four authentic Monastic breweries in Belgium and try some of the best Trappist beer in Europe:

Westmalle Monastery

Located an hour and a half north of Brussels in Flanders, the Westmalle Monastery does not allow visitors inside the monastery, but it does allow guests into its cafe, the Trappisten. The monks brew beer in the monastery for themselves, called Extra, which can only be bought in the cafe, and doesn’t even have a label. The monks here also make their own cheese, which can be served up with a pint of draft.

Rochefort Trappist Brewery

Rochefort Trappist Brewery

Again, the monastery is not open to visitors, and this one doesn’t have a cafe to sample the beer. But you can drive into the grounds and witness the barley malt being pumped into a wooden chute on an old tractor. Rochefort beer can be bought throughout Belgium, and indeed the world. There are also a number of bars, including quaint cellar bars, that do sell the local Rochefort beer.

Westvleteren Brewery

The smallest and most secret monastery in Belgium is located close to the battlefields of Ypres, and is a great stop for both a great beer and history tour. Here, you can buy the beer in bulk at the monastery door or in a few shops.

Orval Monastery

Orval Monastery

This complex of yellow buildings are open to visitors, with an exhibition inside the 18th-century cellar and a tour of the complex, you can really discover the ins and outs of meticulous Trappist beer making. The monastery even has a guesthouse for those interested and truly committed to learning and understanding the monastic way of life. The ruins of the 12th -century abbey still lie in the grounds, of which is surrounded by a beautiful forest. The brewery is famous for its delicious pale ale.

Sample all the Best Trappist Beer in Belgium with Kemwel

Regardless of when you plan to travel to Belgium, trust Kemwel to help you find the best prices on all car rentals in Belgium, and explore this magnificent country, stopping along the way to sample the best Belgian Trappist beers. Whether you need a car rental in Brussels or Brugge rental car, we offer the most affordable options with the best deals in the industry. Check out your options online or give Kemwel a call, toll-free at 1-877-820-0668, to speak with one of our travel experts and begin planning your tour of Belgium today!


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