Belgium – a country that is described by many micro brewers all over the world as the Mecca of beer. With over 1500 different types of beer this thirst quenching drink has become synonymous with Belgium pride and identity. It should be no surprise that Belgium beer has been added to the UNESCO world heritage list since 2016. A protection well earned.
The most prized of all beers are the dark and creamy brews know as Trappist beers, named after the old French monastery La Trappe. As with most old European monasteries, the monks have been long perfecting their brewing techniques, which has led to deep aromatic beers. These beers were sold to the local communities and meant to finance the upkeep of the monasteries and the continuation of Cistercian life. Although, there may have been a bit of indulgence now and then.
One of these abbey breweries is the Belgium monastery of Val Dieu, which has been tucked away in the "Valley of God" for over 800 years. This Cistercian monastery has survived successions, fires, religious wars and is the only Belgium cloister that still remains in its primitive state and where there is still active religious life.
Today the abbey welcomes visitors from all over to enjoy their ancient beer recipe. You can visit the abbey and church, stroll through the peaceful gardens, take a tour in the old farmhouse where the brewery is located, and of course sit down in the courtyard and enjoy a refreshing drink.
The beers come in blond and brown variants, but the brewery also produces beautiful rich ciders for those who want something a little sweeter. The abbey is also well known for its soft brie cheese, which is sold in almost every store around the country and served in many restaurants molten on a bed of salad with honey. A perfect little something on the side along this refreshing divine beer.
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