When it comes to beer, there are a lot of different options out there. But if you're looking for the best beer in the world, you'll want to head to the Trappist Route in Belgium.
The Trappists are a Catholic religious order that follows the Rule of St. Benedict. The order is known for its silence, simplicity, and solitude.
Brewing beer has been going on in French monasteries since the Middle Ages. Even then, there were different religious orders which split off into various schools of brewing. The first Cistercian monastery brewhouse was founded in 1202 and is still active today.
The Trappist order was established in France with the monastery of La Trappe in 1664. They were the first monastery to have its brewery. Later, other monasteries that adopted the Trappist order would also have their brewery, and monks drank beer during public celebrations and masses.
A primary motivation for Trappist breweries was to provide support for the monks. Unfortunately, many of these Trappist monasteries were destroyed during the French Revolution and World Wars.
Belgium is home to six Trappist breweries, all located within 50 miles of each other. Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, and Zundert.
Today we will visit three of the sites: Achel, Chimay, and Orval.
Achel is the smallest and youngest of six breweries, founded in 1998. The brewery is located within the grounds of St Benedictus Abbey in Hamont-Achel.
Chimay is one of the most well-known Trappist breweries is located within Scourmont Abbey in Chimay.
Orval is perhaps best known for its namesake beer, Orval Trappist Ale. The beer is brewed using water from a spring on the Notre Dame d'Orval Abbey site in Villers-Devant-Orval. The abbey also produces a second beer, Orval Vert, which is only available on-site.