All the Way from the Netherlands, Le Trappe will be at Capital Craft Beer Fest
That’s right, the Trappists of De Koningshoeven Brewery will be sending their beers to our shores and they will feature at Capital Craft this year. Founded back in 1884, you can tell that these lads have the requisite experience to brew a grand beer and the proof manifests in the taste.
Most of you may be asking, “what is Trappist?”. Simply put, it’s an order within the realm of Catholicism. That’s correct okes and okettes…Capital Craft will offer the opportunity to drink beer brewed by monks. They produce beer, among other things, under 48th chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict which states “for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of their hands”.
Not only is the income used to provide for the monastery but they do a ton of charity work too. From providing shelter back home to developing agriculture in Uganda, the Trappists of Koningshoeven have made their presence felt around the world. I got to ask them a couple of questions before they set up shop at Capital Craft 2017.
Richard Chemaly (RC): First things first, why ales and not lagers?
La Trappe (LT): The modern brewery is not equipped to brew lagers. Only top fermented ales are brewed according to the secret recipes of the Trappist monks.
RC: Your story is beyond inspiring. Rarely is it the case that people brew beer not for the purpose of profit but rather, as you put it, “purity and honesty”. With excess profits going to charity, what great projects has your brewery funded?
LT: One of the projects comprehends the building of 2 schools in Uganda to provide the children from the local villages with proper education, furniture and study materials. Our most recent project is the support of an outpost for Kyotera Hospital. There are about 500,000 people who are assigned to 4 hospitals, of which Kyotera Hospital is 1 of the 4. The distance to these hospitals is often too far, which means that outposts are necessary. Thanks to our water project in 2015, this outpost is connected to the water pumps, so clean drinking water is available.
RC: The combination of monks and brewers seems irreconcilable to some. Do you take steps to promote responsible drinking?
LT: Of course, all our bottles that we ship to South Africa are provided with a sticker comprehending health warnings and responsibility messages.
RC: You’ve been around since 1884. We calculated that that’s 133 years. What took so long getting to South Africa?
RC: Do you have a message in terms of the ethics of beer to the other breweries? What lessons do you have to bestow on our local brewers who haven’t been in the game as long as you have?
LT: Brewing with consistent quality is key.
RC: It appears that you tried to commercialize a little last decade but that has subsequently fallen through. What are your thoughts on small brewers selling off to the big boys?
LT: Technically, Trappist Breweries cannot be bought. Koningshoeven brewery is one of the few trappist breweries in the world that may use the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo. The best guarantee of authenticity, recipe, tradition and quality. Beer is only Trappist ale if it is brewed within the walls of the Trappist abbey, under the supervision of the monks and part of the profits are donated to good causes. If these rules are not adhered too are in the event of selling-off we would loose the Trappist values which the monks would never allow.
RC: My girlfriend is Greek and has taught me some of the Orthodox rituals before eating or traveling. Are there any prayers or rituals you can teach us before drinking a beer or brewing a batch?
LT: Our Monks pray 7 times a day. In between that they supervise the production of the brewery. The daily routine consists of 8 hours praying, 8 hours work and 8 hours sleep. Their ethos: “Ora et labora” which means in English “Pray and work”.
RC: Finally, what is the correct thing to say when you clink two glasses together before taking a sip?
LT: Gezondheid or cheers in English.