Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Beer & Monks

the line to get beer

Now most people know that Belgium is known for its beer. Wednesday I went on my second adventure to an abbey to get beer. This sounds simple enough right…however this is Belgium and it is beer from an abbey called trappist beer.

What is “Trappist Beer”…

A Trappist beer is a beer brewed by or under control of Trappist monks. The name “trappist beer” is protected by law and can only be applied to beer brewed by trapppist monks in there monastery. Among all the Beligian beers only six are allowed to use the name of trappist beer: Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Westvleteren. These breweries are authorized to label their beers with the Authentic Trappist Product logo that indicates a compliance to various rules edicted by the International Trappist Association.

man with a full trunk of empty bottles

How do you get you hands on The Westvleteren Trappist beer??

It is exclusively sold in the abbey by a reservation. Yes a reservation…

1. You call the beer phone number to know how much and which beer can be reserved at that time at a certain time
2. Then you call back at the indicated time from the first call. They will indicate what beer you get and the quantity. (usually 2 cases but this week we got 3 cases)
3. You make an appointment with the operator (time and date) and you give the license plate number of the car that will collect the order. The calling is only from 9:00 – 12:00 Monday – Thursday. * you have to call about 60 times a day and for weeks to get one appointment*

(The following is per the website) The beer is always sold per kind and in limited quantities. Please consider the fact that our telephone lines can have very long queues and that you can there fore get a busy tone. We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and your patience.

As you can see this is a very crazy process for beer.

Anne with a full trunk of beer for more info check out the web site.

The History of the abbey:

Westvleteren (abbey Our Lady of St. Sixtus) - History of the abbey - the origins The Monastery of Our Lady of Saint Sixtus is located in West Flanders, approximately 4 kilometers from the village of Westvleteren and an equal distance from Poperinghe. It is 12 kilometers of the town of Ypres, which became famous after the First World War. The abbey of Saint Sixtus is also just 18 kms from the French monastery of the Mont des Cats, located in French Flanders.
At the beginning of the 19th century, a deep and dark forest still covered the site of the Abbey of Saint Sixtus. A vault located in this forest gave the monastery its name. Since 1814, a hermit lived in this loneliness: Jean Baptiste Victoor, trader of hops, born in Reninghelst on October 22, 1756, who was not without fortune and whose ambition was to found a convent in honor of the Virgin Mary. It is why he had bought a dozen hectares all around its hermitage. But how to form a community?
Victoor understood that, alone, he could never undertake his projects. Therefore, he presented his ideas to Dom Germain, Abbot of Our Lady of Le Gard (close to Amiens, France). Following the approval of the prelate, a small colony of monks depending on the abbey of Our Lady of Gard left the Mont des Cats and took the road for the forest of Saint Sixtus. They were led by the reverend father Fran├žois Van Langendonck. November 4, 1831 marks the date of the foundation, because it is this day that the first solemn mass was celebrated in the poor building placed at the disposal of the newcomers by their benefactor. Jean Baptiste Victoor did not live long after the arrival of the monks; he died on May 8, 1832. In 1863, a modest monument was set up in the Church to evoke his memory forever.
Styling sheep just down the road from the abbey. I guess "hot pink" is the IN color for sheep this winter.

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