Abbey Notre-Dame de Scourmont
Located on a plateau near Hainaut in the Walloon region of Belgium, the Abbey Notre-Dame de Scourmont is the home of Chimay.
In 1844, Jean-Baptiste Jourdain, the priest of Virelles, suggested establishing a monastery on the wild plateau of Scourmont and obtained support for the proposed foundation from Prince Joseph II de Chimay, the Abbot of St. Sixtus' Abbey, Westvleteren. Six years later, a small group of monks settled on Scourmont and founded a priory.
The monks of the Scourmont Abbey belong to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, and follow the Rule of St. Benedict, taking their name "Cistercians" from the monastery of Cîteaux, founded in Burgundy in the 12th century. The Cistercian monasteries are divided into two great Orders, one being historically connected to La Grande Trappe Abbey in Normandy, France, which gives the common name of "Trappists."
The monks consecrate their lives to their faith and the praise of God through prayer and meditation, taking a vow of celibacy, renouncing all private possessions and living as a community under the direction of an Abbot. At the heart of their lives, they have their own work and endeavour to procure help for the poor.
For many years, the work of the monks was essentially the cultivation of the fields but, in the modern era, this was extended to small industries of food production and so, for several centuries now, they have brewed beer and manufactured cheeses.
A true art of Trappist brewing and cheese-making has developed at the Abbey over the years, with the Chimay name now known across the globe for these two staple products.
Chimay beers are deemed "worthy of trust, and income destined for social services", and that the greater part of the income from its sale is used for supporting community and social services.
Chimay is one of the elite group of Trappist breweries, a designation shared with just seven other monateries and their beer displays the logo which certifies that the product actually comes from a Trappist abbey, that it was manufactured under the control and responsibility of the Trappist religious community.
Strongly upholding their ethics and values, the Abbey states: "Far from seeking quantity, the [Chimay] company makes it a point of honour to brew a quality product. From the beginning, its growth has been connected with fundamental values, based on respect and appreciation for people, as well as a great precision in the management of the quality of its beers. Here, technology takes a back seat to service."
Manufactured based on 100% natural products by the method of top fermentation, followed by a re-fermentation in the bottle, Chimay beers are neither filtered nor pasteurized. In addition, the water and yeast of the Scourmont Abbey are protected resources.
Image Credit: Abbaye de Scourmont by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT / Reproduced via Wikimedia Commons