Trappist adventure

delishtreats
Taste and travel @delishtreatsJanuary 2019 Β· 5 min read

Recently I went through my archive and when I saw a folder called 'Trappist' I knew I wanted to share this experience with you.

My friends in The Netherlands support elderly people in the local community and when I'm there I try to help them as much as I can. Once a year we plan a day when all volunteers meet and spend some quality time together. We organize some interesting program and finish our day with nice potluck dinner.

Two years ago we went to Onze Lieve Vrouw of Koningshoeven Abbey and its famous brewery in Berkel-Enschot.

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In 1881, french Trappist monks came to this moorland with a sheep barn. They converted the sheep barn into temporary monastery and on the 5th of March they celebrated the first Holy Mass there. This became the official establishment date of the abbey.

The Trappists wanted to support charitable causes but they needed some income to achieve this. This is why they established the brewery next to the old abbey in 1884. They became successful and within ten years they earned money to build their new abbey as well.

Nowadays, The Koningshoeven Brewery is one of the few true Trappist breweries in the world.

It's because the authentic Trappist beer can only be brewed within a Trappist monastery by monks or the process must be at least supervised by them. The profits are used to cover the expenses of the monastery and its monks and whatever remains must be donated to good causes.

They are able to produce 9 million liter of beer each year. The money that the brothers currently earn is mainly used to renovate two local schools in Uganda and provide them with clean and safe drinking water. They also support several projects in The Netherlands.

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The brewery is open to public but it is usually not allowed to visit the abbey. However after long discussions in advance, we were able to enter the abbey and meet one of the monks - brother Johannes.

We were greeted by the Secretary who accompanied us to a room where we were supposed to meet brother Johannes. We were offered cookies baked in the abbey and a cup of tea. After a short while brother Johannes entered the room.

He looked younger than I expected and his life story was fascinating. We had a nice chat and he told us a lot about the history of the abbey as well.

After our discussion he led us to a chapel for their afternoon prayer. We walked through the part of the abbey that is only accessible to the monks. I can't even describe the tranquility that you feel in the abbey. It's almost surreal.

In the chapel we found the other monks, big and small, young and old, fat and thin, everything was in between. After their prayers they quietly left the chapel and returned to their daily activities.

For us, it was time to leave the abbey and continue our tour with the excursion of the brewery.

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The abbey and the brewery were established at the sheep barn - De Schaapskooi. You can see this written next to the entrance to the brewery.

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During the excursion of the brewery you will learn about the production process and you will understand how it was brewed in the past and how it is brewed today.

The brewery was modernized in 1989. The old equipment had to be removed and replaced.


The monks use only local ingredients in the production process such as hop, barley and yeast. The water used for brewing is from their own spring. They produce nine different beers varied from La Trappe Puur (4.7%) to La Trappe Quadruppel Oak Aged (11%).

They also produce special editions of beer. These editions have limited batches. I bought one bottle of Oak Aged from batch number 25 made with Kirsch schapps and white wine. I still have the bottle in a sealed box 😊

As the taste depends on the type of barrel in which it is aged, each batch is different. The ale continues to ferment after bottling and may be kept for many years. I am not a beer drinker but the idea of having something special was too exciting so I had to get one 😊

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The most interesting area of the brewery is the bottling space. Almost hundred years ago they were already able to bottle 6000 bottles per hour. I'm not sure how many they can bottle now but it's definitely not less 😊

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The excursion takes approximately 1 hour and you will be entertained by the local guide who has many funny stories to tell. He can also answer most of your questions and I had a feeling that even if he didn't know answers to all the questions he was able to change the topic so quickly that the one who asked the question didn't even realize that he didn't get the answer 😊

The entrance fee is 12 EUR and you will also have a chance to watch a short movie about the abbey at the end of the excursion. During the movie you will be served one beer of your choice.

After the excursion you can visit The Tasting Room and drink even more beer or you can visit Abbey gift shop where you can purchase various products made in different monasteries as well.

I purchased a set of eight special brews and I must admit that I still have four of them. Now when I talk about it, I think it's the right time to open one of them 😊

I hope that you have enjoyed the tour!

Thank you for reading!

Cheers,
Martina

PS: All photos are taken with my Samsung Galaxy S7.

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janton
Jonboy @jantonFebruary 2019

Howdy delishtreats! I love this post, it's marvelous in it's education but is also such an inspiring story! I assume that beer is very good? I love the lay out of that Abbey too. The Abbey and brewery are in the Netherlands?


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It is nuts to think of what I have in my head about Trappist beers and then see all that advanced machinery and equipment! Those monks have come a long way and I suppose they are not Amish and would embrace advancement to fund the monetary.


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Absolutely! They are very progressive, also in their thinking. I think that this is one of the reasons why they are so successful :)

Thank you for stopping by!


0

wow, love this post Martina! Not only is the place beautiful, but the topic and story behind it is truly worth reading... I love reading your posts and you do a fantastic job of finding the "fun things" to do in life! :)


31

Thank you Dave! I would love to read a post from you too! :)

It's a very interesting place and I didn't know what to expect when we went there. I thought it would be boring BUT I was surprised and it was a truly fascinating experience :)

I try to do something fun every weekend and I wish I had more time to do even more :)

Hope you're doing well! :)


37

Now that is something worth raising a glass to! 🍻 Those monks were definitely smart to come up with such a great way to make money to put to good use. Craft beer has become so huge here (and elsewhere I'm sure), so there are new breweries popping up all the time. They definitely don't compare to such a cool tradition of beer-making, though. Crazy to think they could make that much beer a day (or hour!) even 100 years ago! I wish I was half that productive on a given day. :)


14

Their duty (they call it a duty) is to support good causes and this is probably the easiest way. I believe that Trappists have been making beer for hundreds years already and they just applied what their fellows were doing in the past.

I agree with you. It's the same here. Craft beer is such a huge thing now. I don't really understand that since I don't like beer :)

Yes! I wish I could be just half that productive, lol :D

Thank you for stopping by Katie!


36

That was a great read and wow what a beautiful place! I know exactly what you mean about the surreal atmosphere of the monastery, I have experienced the same thing. Thats cool that you got to go beyond the usual barriers to the public. They must have been rather like moonshiners in the earliest days haha. Thanks Martina, a super post! Hope you enjoy your special brew opened today in their memory.xxx


4

It was amazing. I have never even hoped that I would get to such a privileged place. I really enjoyed it :)

YES! It was lovely to look at those photos and think about that special day :)

Thank you for stopping by my dear friend!


1

Whhaaaat that's actually super interesting post! 12 Euros is a great prize for entry for such interesting excursion..Wondering what are you waiting for with opening of that bottle :D Dooo you think you'd sell it one day? You totally are making me curious about the taste....Also its interesting that you said you went thru your archive...I just never do that haha :D I guess I should

Btw @detlev and @zekepickleman, this is really interesting read for you guys.


4

Hahaha, I don't think I would sell it.. or I haven't thought about it before.. it's simply because we are not beer drinkers and when we offer it to other people they don't want to try it because it's so special :D There is nothing more behind it :D

I do it from time to time when I have a bad day just to remind myself that my life is actually cool :D


29

Haha yah thanks!


0

Wow! To bottle 6000 an hour a hundred years ago is very impressive!! I'm not a big beer drinker, but I do like the Belgian beer andcthe great variety.


3

Me neither. I can drink beer maybe once or twice a year but it's definitely not my favorite. I must however say that these beers are tasty. They have also ones with very light beer taste so it doesn't stay in your mouth for the rest of the day :D


9

Thanks for sharing! We're in the Netherlands for another couple of months and we're looking for places like this one. Great tour, now it's time for us to go there. :)


2

You should definitely give it a go if you like beer :) Hope you're enjoying your time in The Netherlands :)


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guchtere
Remy @guchtereJanuary 2019

Hehe I've only been here to pick up some beer🀣
Wasn't aware that there was such a great excursion behind the doors. Will for sure go back this year to have a look at this excursion. @dboontje will you join? Would make an interesting day πŸ»πŸ“Έ


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dboontje
Dennis @dboontjeJanuary 2019

I'm in!


12

You should go there and let me know how you liked it. I guess you won't be able to go to the abbey but brewery is very cool as well!


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rwedegis
rwedegis @rwedegisJanuary 2019

What an awesomely informative tour! I had no idea that the Trappists were brewers! I bet the beer tastes wonderful!


2

The taste is very special - different to normal beers. I'm not a beer drinker but I actually enjoyed a glass of their PUUR one. They have a wide variety so everyone can definitely find something to drink there :)

They have been brewers for centuries ;)

Thank you for stopping by!


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