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Core Styles: Enkel, Blonde, Dubbel, Tripel, Quadrupel
Trappist and Abbey beers aren't beer styles, per se: Trappist ales are brewed by monks or within the walls of a Trappist monastery and are certified by the International Trappist Association as having satisfied that and a few other strict requirements. There are a total of 178 Trappist monasteries worldwide (as of July 2015), but only 13 produce Trappist beer. Eleven of them are authorized to label their beers with the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo showing they comply with the strict rules of the International Trappist Association. Abbey beers, by comparison, are similar to Trappist ale flavour and style traditions with one big difference: they only have to be licensed by the particular Abbey to produce those beers and, generally, breweries producing these styles will donate a proportion of the profits to the Abbey.
Style-wise, Trappist and Abbey beers are generally described as Dubbels or Tripels, with some blondes or strong darks/Quadrupels thrown in for good measure. Of the 11 recognized Trappist breweries in the world that carry the ATP (Authentic Trappist Product) label, six are in Belgium (Westvleteren, Westmalle, Achel, Rochefort, Orval, and Chimay) two in The Netherlands--one being Koningshoeven, one in Austria, one in Italy, one in Italy, one in The USA and, most recently, Mount Saint Bernard in the UK. On the other hand, it’s hard to quantify the number of abbey beer producers as, technically, any secular producer of the aforementioned styles are making abbey beers.
Belgium is a country that takes its’ beer seriously and that extends to the glassware. Every beer has its’ own specially designed glass; chalices, tulips and goblets are the mainstay for Abbey and Trappist and, once you’ve had the beer in the correct glass, you’ll understand why!
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