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Achel beer loses Trappist designation

13:27 25/01/2021

Achel beer, produced in the Limburg abbey of the same name, is no longer a Trappist beer. That is because the only actual monk still living in the monastery has moved out.

Trappist is a protected label, and a beer can only be designated as such if it is produced by Trappist monks in a monastery. The monastery must also re-invest any profits earned back into the order or into religious or charitable works.

Even one monk living in the monastery and actively working on the production of the beer is enough, but the lone monk still at Achelse Kluis in Limburg has moved to the Westmalle monastery in Antwerp province. Westmalle also produces a Trappist beer.

So while Achel beer isn’t going anywhere, it can no longer be called a Trappist product. Nothing will change about the beer, however, the production of which is in fact being overseen by the monks in Westmalle.

“So feel free to still call it a Trappist,” brother Nathanaël of Westmalle abbey told Radio 1. “We just can’t use the label anymore because there is no longer a community living in Achel.”

This brings Belgium’s number of Trappist breweries down to five: Westvleteren, Westmalle, Rochefort, Orval and Chimay. There are eight other Trappist breweries outside of Belgium. The International Trappist Association, based in Vleteren where Westvleteren is produced, maintains the strict quality control of the label.

Written by Lisa Bradshaw