Belgium loses Trappist beer

Beer brewed at Achel Abbey in Limburg will no longer be allowed to bear the name Trappist beer. The abbey is being sold to businessman Jan Tormans and the brewery at the abbey will cut all links with Westmalle Abbey that supervised operations at the Achel Abbey brewery until now. Earlier, when the Trappist monks moved out, the brewery lost the right to display the ATP label, proving Authentic Trappist Product, on its brews. The ATP label can only be used when beer is brewed in an abbey with live-in monks. The name could still be used thanks to the connection with Westmalle Abbey, but with the sale to private hands that now too is a thing of the past.

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Of Martyrs and Moby Dick: Weihenstephan’s Vitus Weizenbock

~Or, what do Melville’s white whale, a cathedral in Prague, and Weihenstephan’s Vitus have in common?~

I’ve been drinking Weihenstephan’s lush and expansive Vitus for years now, especially when the weather turns cool. I can’t get enough of that subtly spiced honey and orange zest layered over rich banana custard. But I hadn’t ever troubled myself with looking deeper into the beer’s namesake, St. Vitus, despite my fondness for another material object connected with Vitus’s memory: the imposing Gothic cathedral that looms over Prague.

But then I came across what was, for me, a puzzling reference to St. Vitus in Moby Dick. I immediately had to know what connected the dots between Moby Dick, a cathedral in Prague with some of the most wondrous stained-glass windows I’ve seen, and that elegant Weizenbock from Weihenstephan.

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