“When they live by the labor of their hands,....then they are really monks.” That was written by Benedict, the “architect” of Western monasticism. According to his guidelines, monks should earn their own living. The Trappists who came to Berkel-Enschot in 1881 began supporting themselves with farming and cattle breeding, but for the growing community, it quickly became obvious that the profits from the poor-quality land were inadequate to make ends meet. That’s why, in 1884, the monks decided to begin brewing Trappist beer.
According to Traditional Methods
'La Trappe', the name of the beer brewed in Koningshoeven, was the first Trappist beer in The Netherlands. Only beer brewed in a Trappist monastery under the supervision and responsibility of the monks may be called 'Trappist beer'. La Trappe is brewed according to traditional methods, from a recipe developed by the Trappist monks of Koningshoeven, using only natural ingredients, such as hops, barley malt and yeast. The brewery uses water drawn from its own well in the beer. The fermentation process characteristic of the type of yeast which is used, is most active between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius (or 66 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and is known as 'top fermentation'. The beer is bottled with yeast and sugar, which allows the fermentation process to continue in the bottle, giving La Trappe a unique aroma. Since 1997, the brewery De Koningshoeven B.V. (an independent subsidiary of Bavaria N.V. in Lieshout), has rented the buildings from the abbey and produces Trappist beer there, under the authority and supervision of the monastery.
Five Special Beers
The Brewery De Koningshoeven markets five special beers under the brand name La Trappe. In USA and Canada 'La Trappe' is marketed as 'Koningshoeven Trappist Ale'.
'Blond' 6.5% alcohol) is a clear, sparkling lager of high fermentation, attuned to European taste and always good. It is characterized by the use of refined hops, giving the beer a slightly bitter aftertaste and a distinctively refreshing but fragrant aroma.
'Dubbel' (7% alcohol) is a warm, ruby-red Trappist. This beer has a soft, fragrant, but above all refreshing, character.
'Tripel' (8% alcohol) is a dark Trappist lager with a fruity, bittersweet taste.
'Quadrupel' (10% alcohol) is the heaviest specialty from La Trappe. The taste is full, mild and pleasantly bitter. This beer is bottled by date.
‘Quadrupel Oak Aged’ (10% alcohol) is Quadrupel, that longer time in wooden barrels or barriques is aged. The unique, complex flavor depends on the type of vessel. Now port-, white wine and whiskybarriques are used.
'Witte Trappist' ( 5.5% alcohol) is brewed with especially aromatic hops, giving it a refreshing character. Witte Trappist is neither filtered nor pasteurized and the fermentation process continues in the bottle. In contrast to the other La Trappe beers, this beer should be served cold.