I may be getting ahead of myself on this entry but it may be my favorite of the Belgian beers.
It is one of only seven (six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands) breweries to produce Trappist beer with authorization to label their beers with the Authentic Trappist Product logo that indicates a compliance to the various rules of the International Trappist Association. There are three criteria that must be met to be an Authentic Trappist Product:
- The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks.
- The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
- The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.
Having read this you might ask yourself what does Trappist mean.
The Trappist order originated in the Cistercian monastery of La Trappe, France. Various Cistercian congregations existed for many years, and by 1664 the Abbot of La Trappe felt that the Cistercians were becoming too liberal. He introduced strict new rules in the abbey and the Strict Observance was born. Since this time, many of the rules have been relaxed. However, a fundamental tenet, that monasteries should be self-supporting, is still maintained by these groups.
Thanks Wikipedia, again.
So monks need to maintain their residences and holy grounds, yet are unable to make a profit from any sales made-thus creating beer, wine and cheese they are able to provide high quality produce and meet their own financial needs. More on Trappists at a different time.
Being a relatively new addition, 1931, to the Trappist tradition you may think it has something to prove. It has a highly malty flavor with equal tones of hops and cloves. It pours-all Trappists, in fact all Belgian beers come with their own unique glass-quite heavily and leaves a large, foamy head once emptied from the bottle. On first taste it is quite fizzy and pleasant to the palate. It is a complex set of flavors to be enjoyed at any point of the day. http://www.orval.be/an/FS_an.html