During Erin’s first visit to the Netherlands, we hoped to be able to visit a couple of the famed Trappist breweries. On our way to spend a day in Antwerp and night in Brussels, we decided to make our first stop at the Westmalle Brewery in Belgium.
Westmalle Trappist is brewed by the monks of the Abdik Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van het Helig Hart in Westmalle, Belgium, just east of Antwerp. The abbey is cloistered, with the monks living a peaceful life of prayer and work. As such, the abbey is not open to the public. As the brewery is located within the walls of the abbey, it too is not open for visitors, however located very nearby to the abbey and brewery (basically across the street)is the Cafe Trappisten Westmalle where you can experience this Trappist beer as close to the source as possible, as well as watch a film about the monastery, the brewery, the farm and the cheese making facility at the abbey.
Westmalle has been brewing beer since 1836, and has two commercial offerings, the Westmalle Dubbel and Westmalle Tripel. They also make the Westmalle Extra which is brewed twice a year and is only for internal consumption at the monastery. The Tripel is a golden yellow beer with 9.5% alcohol and secondary bottle fermentation. It has been brewed using almost the same recipe for over 50 years. The Dubbel also undergoes secondary bottle fermentation, is reddish-brown, and 7% alcohol. With some minor changes, it has been available for over 80 years. What makes this beer a little more known is that it is also the only dark Trappist beer available in draught around the world!
The Cafe Trappisten is one such place with the Westmalle Dubbel available on draft, and also serves the Tripel and a wide selection of other beverages. They also have a decent selection of food, including basics such as Trappist Cheese and meats, sandwiches, desserts, and even a rabbit stew cooked in the Trappist beer! The cafe is open daily from 10am to midnight.
Westmalle Trappist Brewery
B-2390 Westmalle – Belgium
Tel: +32 3 312 92 22
Fax: +32 3 312 92 28