We are excited to bring to you our second BrewView from La Trappe. Our first was from September 8, 2014 on La Trappe Quadrupel. This new BrewView was very much overdue…
THE HISTORY OF Onze Lieve Vrouw of Koningshoeven Abbey
French Trappist monks found refuge in Berkel-Enschot in the province of Brabant, consisting of some moorland with farmhouses and a sheep barn. The farmhouses were named the Koningshoeven (meaning the king’s farmhouses in Dutch), after the former owner King Willem II. On the 5th of March 1881, the first Holy Mass was celebrated in the sheep barn, which was temporarily converted into a monastery. This became the official establishment date of the abbey.
The Trappists needed a source of income to support themselves and fulfil their charity duties. That is why in 1884, they decided to brew beer. To this very day, beer is brewed according to the rules of the Trappist within the walls of this abbey. In order to pay for the construction of an abbey, the monks began building a new brewery in 1891. They also built the malt tower, which to this day dominates the view of the brewery.
The construction of a new abbey was paid for by the profits from the beer. To this present day, the brewery and abbey are a unique combination of an industrial and religious estate.
In 1928, ‘La Trappe Blond’ is introduced, a blond and underfermented ale with 4% alcohol. In 1936, The brewery began bottling its own beer: the machine could bottle 6000 bottles per hour. Bottles with lightening stoppers as well as crown caps. The crown cap replaced the bottles with lightening stoppers and allowed the Trappists to pasteurise beer.
After the Second World War, the entire brewing world suffered from a shortage of raw materials. The monks even considered closing the brewery. In order to supplement the decreasing income of the brewery, a lemonade factory was established. The soft drinks that were produced were sold under the brand names Ariston and Whist.
From 1969 to 1979, The brewery grew into a medium-sized brewery with dark, Pilsner, Dortmunder, Super and Bock beer. Due to the increasing demand, the brewery looked to collaborate with Stella Artois.
CREATION OF THE BRAND NAME LA TRAPPE, AND THE TIMELINE OF NEW BEER DEVELOPMENT
The collaboration with Stella Artois ended in 1980, and the monks took the brewing process back into their own hands. They introduced to the market a high-fermentation beer under the name La Trappe: the Dubbel. In that same year, the Tripel was also introduced. At the end of 1989, the first beer was produced in the modernized brewery. More than 100 old, open yeast fermentation tanks and lager tanks had to be removed for that purpose.
In 1991, the abbey presented the introduction of La Trappe Quadrupel. The strongest variety of La Trappe (with 10% alcohol). Initially, it was only brewed in the winter, but due to its great success, it was soon brewed all year through. In 1999, La Trappe began collaborating with the Bavaria Brewery in Lieshout. A new bottling plant was purchased to ensure the quality of the beers also in the future. In 2003, Witte Trappist was introduced: the first and only Trappist wheat beer.
In October 2004, La Trappe reintroduced its traditional Bock beer. The recipe from the 1950s was the basis for the beer. La Trappe Bock beer is still brewed seasonally. More and more visits to the brewery were organised in the canteen. That is how in 2008 the canteen became the tasting hall of the Trappist beer. Since 1984, the number of visitors grew so much that a new Tasting Hall was necessary. The Tasting Hall was designed like a sheep barn, where it all started.
In 2009, the brewery reinstated an old tradition: ripen La Trappe Quadrupel in wooden barrels. This created a unique and complex flavour that varies per type of barrel. Also in 2009, on occasion of the 125th anniversary of the brewery, a special once-only jubilee beer was brewed. Named after Isidorus, the first brewer of the Onze Lieve Vrouw of Koningshoeven Abbey. Isid’or beer was received so well that it was decided to include this Trappist beer in the standard collection.
In 2010, the brewery introduced La Trappe PUUR: a fresh-hoppy, light-flavoured Trappist beer with 4.7% alcohol. Made from high-quality, organic ingredients. The recipe for La Trappe PUUR arose from a combination between continuous striving for top-quality and a passionate devotion to beer, in which good stewardship of God’s creation is the main focus. In 2013, La Trappe Jubilaris was released. This unique Trappist beer of La Trappe was brewed especially and once-only on occasion of Dom Bernardus’ 25th anniversary. On the 20th of August 1988, Dom Bernardus took his vows at the age of 20. (Source: LaTrappeTrappist.com)
La Trappe Trappist Ales meet the rules for certification to call it an “Authentic Trappist Product”:
1. Products which carry this label are produced within the walls of the monastery or in the vicinity of the monastery.
2. The monastic community determines the policies and provides the means of production. The whole process of production must be in accordance with the business practices proper to a monastic way of life.
3. The profits are primarily intended to provide for the needs of the monastic community and for outreach to disadvantaged communities, groups and individuals.
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian Trappist Amberbier
Colour: Amber-coloured with a broken white head.
Aroma: A lovely combination of herbal, floral and fruity aromas.
Taste: La Trappe Isid’or was brewed in 2009 in honour of the 125th anniversary of Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koningshoeven Abbey. The harmonious taste starts as a fruity flavour and then shifts to malty caramel; a perfect balance between complexity and simplicity. The ale is named after brother Isidorus, the first master brewer of the abbey.
Aftertaste: Pleasantly bitter.
Features: Trappist ale with a symbolic value
OUR BREWview on la trappe isid’or
7.5% ABV, Deep amber / caramel color with a creamy, cotton ball density, slightly off-white colored, 2-finger height head with large and small bubbles.
The immediate bouquet is very fruity- tropical fruit (bananas), nice hop balance in the background.
The flavor is different from the aromas. Deep biscuity, flavors, deep caramel malts with a great hop balance. If you have had any of the La Trappe Trappist ales in the past, you know they have their signature yeast flavor- the same is evident here. The yeast component is bready, but a bit sharper and spicier. NOTE: We were very careful not to include the yeast sediment in the initial pour. The subsequent yeast dump increases the breadiness and the hops diminish ever so slightly.
Medium to full bodied, it is a bit dry on the palate, and in the finish. Deep caramel, very biscuity, almost like medium toast. It hits more of the middle of the tongue in the initial sips.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
There is a very detailed RECIPE PAGE at La Trappe’s website, where they have pairings with all the La Trappe Trappist ales.
Here are the recipes for La Trappe Isid’or:
The diverse flavor profile of La Trappe Isid’or allows it to be enjoyed all year round.
Another world class Trappist ale from a first rate organization. Because La Trappe is an official Trappist beer, part of our profit goes to charity. La Trappe supports a very poor region in Uganda. A Trappist monastery has been established in this region. The brothers of this monastery are mainly specialized in agriculture and cattle breeding. That is how they help the local population build their economy. The money that the brothers currently earn is used to renovate two local schools and provide them of clean and safe drinking water.
+31 (0)13 535 81 47
After 5pm and on weekends:
+31 (0)13 572 26 50
BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.
He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15