Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stage 2: Arnhem — Nijmegen. Dutch Trappist beer

It was a popular win for Tom Demoulin yesterday. I Dutch rider in pink should give a good pink week end in the Netherlands. He will probably ride in pink until the Giro leaves for Italy.

Stage 2 is a flat 190 km stage, starting in Arnhem, some 35 km south of Apeldoorn. It goes north, south-west, south-east and then north to the finish town Nijmegen, a little south of Arnhem. It is flat, and will probably be won by one of the sprinters, but with little or no time differences. There are bonus seconds, but the best sprinters are more than 10 seconds behind, and will not gain enough time to take the pink jersey.

Giro_2016_02It will be another day with Dutch beer. Yesterday it  those industry beers that are dominating the Dutch market too much. Today, we go for something more interesting. It is time for some Dutch Trappist beer.

Trappist is not a spcific type of beer. It is beers brewed in Trappist monsteries, under strict rules. The Trappist order originated in the Cisercian monastry of La Trappe in France. For a non-expert on the history of monasteries, it is interesting note that new orders ofn are established by monk whou thought that the old order had become too liberal. The Abbot of La Trappe felt that the Cistercians were becoming too liberal.

There are many Abbey-beers. Some are brewed in or by an abbey. But in these days, many abbeys have licensed their names to outside breweries. But that is more common in Belgium than in the Netherlands. We leave that till a year either Giro d’Italia or Tour de France is visiting Belgium.

Many beers, that had little to nothing to do with the Trappist order, were marketing beers as “Trappist”. The Trappist monasteries did not like that. In 1962 the Trappist order sued a brewery in Gent in Belgium, and won.

In 1997 eight Trappist abbeys founded The international Trappist Association (ITA), to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from abusing the Trappist name. They made a logo that can be used on Trappist products, produced according to the Trappist rules. There are more than beer that is produced in Trappist monasteries, but we stick to Trappist beer. The basic rules are:

  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
  • The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life
  • The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.
  • Trappist breweries are constantly monitored to assure the irreproachable quality of their beers.

Any beer brewed according to the Trappist rules can be a Trappist beer, no matter of the style. We will often see Trappist beers labeled as Dubbel og Triple. Dubbels are usually brown, rather strong ales. Tripels is a strong blond beer. The Belgian Westmalle Tripel is considered the original Tripel. It is dangerously easy to drink for a beer with 9,5% alcohol.

Currently, there are eleven Trappist breweries. Six in Belgium, one in USA, one in Austria, one in Italy and two in the Netherlands.

Let us forget about Heineken and other industry beers. It is time som open some bottles of Dutch Trappist beer. We start with the larger and older of the two: Abbey O.L.V. Koningshoeven. It is located in Eindhoven, south in the Netherlands. They have named their brewery after the first Trappist monastry; La Trappe.

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They list nine beers on their website, and I think I have only tasted four or five of them. My favourites are Blond and Tripel, but this is because these are my favourite styles of beer. Bock is a popular type of beer in the Netherlands, and I will taste their Bockbier next time I get an opportunity. Bock is usually a top-fermented beer, but La Trappe make their as a top-fermented.

Usually, Trappist monsteries do not welcome visitors. Ot to be more correct: They welcome visitors who will take part in the religious services in the abbey, but not those of us who are more interested in their beer and brewery. Remember that the Trappist rules says that the brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery. But La Trappe is different. They welcome visitors. They also promote bike routes.

The other Dutch Trappist Brewery is run by Abdij Maria Toevlucht which call their brewery Trappistenbrouwerij de Kievit. They started in 2013, or i may be this year they got the Trappist accreditation. It is located in Zundert, at the Belgian border. As far as I know, they have one beer: Zundert, a Tripel.

As far as I know, La Trappe has a wide distribution. Zundert may be harder to find.

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The World Atlas of Beer

This is the book I usually recommend as a global guide to beer. The second edition was published in 2016. It is an informative and beautyfully illustrated book. I only wish it could have had many more pages.

Order from

The Oxford Companion to Beer

0195367138This is a reference work on beer, written in an encyclopedic style. Despite the name "The Oxford Companion ...", is it a US book, having a slight US bias. Having said that, it is a very good book of refernce.

It is available in a hardcover and a Kindle edition. For a book like this, I would go for the paper version.

Buy the hardcover edition from  Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Buy the Kindle edition from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2016

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