Written by Tom Becham for Professorgoodales
Anyone who spends enough time in pursuit of craft beer will eventually discover the Belgian monastic brews. These seven brewers – six in Belgium, one in the Netherlands – are all Trappist monasteries and make a fairly limited number of beer styles for the purpose of funding the monastery and its works. The breweries/monasteries are: Chimay (the most widely available and commercial of the Trappist beers), Westmalle, Orval, Achel, Rochefort, La Trappe (the Dutch one), and the rare-as-rocking-horse-droppings Westvleteren.
There are many other brewers in Belgium which have monastic connections, and which may use the descriptors of “Abbey Dubbel” or “Abbey Tripel” for their beers.
But to be a genuine monastic brew, the monks must be involved in a certain percentage of the brewing process.
Well, monastic brewing has made its way to the United States. Sierra Nevada, in collaboration with the Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux, in Northern California, has introduced a new line of monastic beers. The monks are definitely involved with the brewing process, many of them having been trained by Sierra Nevada. The new line of beers is called Ovila.
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