A Trappist beer is somewhat different to an abbey beer. Out of all the beers in the world, only seven of them can use the name ‘Trappist’: Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren and Westmalle. You can recognise them from the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo.
A Trappist beer is only given this name if it satisfies a number of strict criteria:
The beer is brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
The brewery must be controlled by the monastery and have a business culture compatible with the monastic project.
The purpose of the brewery is not to make a profit. The income takes care of the livelihood of the monks and the upkeep of the abbey site. What is left over is used for charitable purposes, social work and people in need.
The Trappist breweries produce beers of an impeccable quality that is permanently controlled. Thus a Westmalle Trappist contains 100% natural ingredients.
Trappist breweries strictly observe all standards in the areas of safety, health and consumer information. And the style of communication and advertising is one of honesty, austerity and the modesty appropriate to the religious environment in which the beers are brewed.