Westmalle At A Glance
The Trappist Brewing Heritage
Brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision, is just one tenet governing which beers can bear the Trappist name.
Just eight Trappist abbeys brew beer Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle, Achel, Koningshoeven and, more recently, Engelszell.
A life of prayer… and brewing
For over two centuries, the monks of Westmalle have choosen to live a life of prayer and work. Faithfully true to the Rule of Saint Benedict, they ensure their own means of sustenance and, for this reason, there is a farm, a cheese dairy and a brewery inside the walls of the Trappist abbey.
Deliberately kept to a small scale, and with particular care taken of people and the environment, the brewery and it’s income is used to support Trappist communities and to carry out charity work.
Brewing at the Westmalle Abbey
In 1836, Abbot Martinus Dom started construction of a small brewery at Westmalle and, on 10th December 1836, they served their first brew of Trappist beer at lunch.
For many years the Westmalle only brewed for its own needs, sell a very modest amount of beer at the monastery gate every now and again. Demand increased until the brewery had to expand in 1865 and 1897.
In the 1920's, the monks decided to sell their beer commercially and in the early 1930's a new brewing hall, yeast room and workshop came into use (some buildings of the current brewery date from this period). The bottling plant was modernised in 1956, and in 1968 the abbey obtained its own water treatment plant. In 1991, they invested in a computer-controlled brewing hall - if it improves the quality, then they are happy to use new technologies.