"Trappist Tuesdays and other days too"
This month column was written by Bob's friend
One of my favorite beer places features "Trappist Tuesdays" - you
get $4 off every Trappist beer (they have 6 of the 7). When this bar
says Trappist they mean just that. If it's just a Belgium beer, sorry
Not that I wanted to expand the number of beers receiving a
discount (right), I decided to do some investigation to find out
just what a Trappist beer is.
Beginning in the early 1950s, many brewers wanted to take
advantage of the Trappist name and reputation so they simply
began to call their beer "Trappist". The dismayed Trappist monks
logically started legal proceedings to protect their name.
The monks won their case when the court of Gent, in February,
1962 ruled that "the word Trappist is used commonly to indicate a
beer brewed and sold by monks pertaining to the order of the
Trappists or by people who would have obtained an authorization of
thus a Trappist a beer is one manufactured by Cistercian
monks and not a beer in the Trappist style which will be rather called
beer of abbey."
Despite the legal definition a Trappist beer, it failed to completely
cover all situations which is why the International Trappist
Association specified complementary criteria making it possible to
define an Authentic Trappist Product. Once a beer meets that
criteria it was allowed to put the "authentic Trappist product"
hexagonal logo on the label. The logo specifically means that the
beer was produced inside a monastery or its immediate vicinity.
The logo furthermore testifies that the entire production machiner,y
not just the brewing equipment, has an indisputable link to the
accredited monastery. It also certifies that the product comes from
a business culture that fits in with monastic life.
To be a Trappist beer means the work shall be carried out by the
monks or nuns themselves and/or lay persons who are accredited
by the monastery. All those entrusted with the production,
packaging and marketing must operate under the monks'
supervision in terms of production, administrative management,
quality, publicity and financing.
And there's more. The proceeds from the beer sales shall be
"outside the scope of any independent profit motive". They are
intended for "material, intellectual and spiritual needs of the monks,
the maintenance of the buildings and the environment of the
accredited monaster"y. Lastly, all remaining monies (and there
usually is a substantial amount) must be used for charity, social
work or the needs of other Trappist monasteries.
So there you have it, the real story of Trappist beers. If I had to pick
the most surprising thing I learned in writing this article it would be
that the monks make sure their profits are put to good use.
From now one I don't think I'll ever again wait for a Tuesday to order
a Trappist beer. In fact, my New Year's resolution will be to drink
beers with the Trappist logo on any day of the week that ends in "y".
|BeerNexus proudly presents
"the ombudsman of beer"
Bob and Friends Speak of Beer......
My thanks to Walt Sunner for this month's
column. See you next time to "speak