5 Beers Made by Real Monks

Monk-made beers for discerning drinkers.

Trappist Beer
Photo: © Richard W. Rodriguez / MCT via Getty Images

People who care about beer often care about what's in it and how it's made. In the case of Trappist beer, the "who" behind the brew is just as important. Trappist beer can only be brewed by Trappist monks on the grounds of their monasteries.

The centuries-old tradition of Trappist brewing produces beers that are renowned for their quality and craftsmanship — and are increasingly hard to find. Only a few monasteries continue to make beer certified as an "Authentic Trappist Product" (ATP). Bestowing this label is taken seriously as imitators and imposters are eager to cash in on the reputation of this time-honored style. 

For a genuine Trappist monk beer for your next pint, here are five brewed by real, literally honest-to-God monks.


The monks of the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Heart of Westmalle have been brewing Trappist beer in Belgium since the early 18th century. Today, they produce three signature Trappist beers: Extra, Dubbel, and Tripel. Westmalle is credited with creating the first Tripel, a type of strong pale ale, often the strongest in a monastery's lineup. Its distinctive blend of rich malt flavors and bitter hoppy notes has made the Tripel a signature style of Trappist brewing.


In the Gaume region of Belgium, the Orval Abbey produces just two beers: Orval and Orval Vert. What sets these brews apart from other Trappist beers is the use of a particular, local, wild yeast strain that produces complex flavors and aromas, resulting in fruity, earthy, and distinct beers. Twice a year, the brewery opens its doors to the public, offering a rare opportunity to peek behind the curtain of its operation.


In 1862, the monks at Scourmont Abbey, located in the city of Chimay, Hainaut Provence, Belgium, made their first beer, laying the foundation for the successful Chimay Brewery that continues to operate today. In addition to their line of commercial beers, including Chimay Red (a dubbel), Blue (a classic, creamy dark ale), and White (a dry, crisp tripel), the monks produce one special beer just for themselves. Called patersbier, the monks drink this milder style of beer only for sustenance. They also make a variety of beer-friendly cheese to pair with their brews.


At Rochefort Abbey in Namur, Belgium, monks have been brewing beer since the 16th century. Unlike many other Trappist breweries, Rochefort only produces brown beers — no dubbels or tripels. There's the red-capped Rochefort 6, green-capped Rochefort 8, blue-capped Rochefort 10, and Rochefort Triple Extra. Rochefort's signature beers are known for their rich and malty flavor profile, offering concentrated layers of dark fruit, baking spice, and hints of leather.

La Trappe

Set in Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koningshoeven Abbey in a small village in the Netherlands, the skilled monks at La Trappe brewery expertly craft a range of traditional ales, including a blond, a dubbel, a tripel, a quadrupel (which is also available aged in oak barrels), and an unfiltered witte. One standout addition to the brewery's lineup is La Trappe Nillis — reportedly the world's first alcohol-free Trappist beer.

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