Home Beers A journey through the Trappist beers of Wallonia

A journey through the Trappist beers of Wallonia

In Belgium, the golden drink par excellence has been UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2016, which already says a lot about its personality. In Wallonia, in the south of the country, they have a production of more than 500 varieties of beer. Its territory is crossed by all kinds of typical places where it is made or tasted. Many of them are linked to abbeys, among which the unique Trappist beers stand out. These are made by monks of the Cistercian order in the monasteries themselves.


For a beer to be considered Trappist, it must meet three basic requirements: that it be made within the same monastery or abbey, and that production is supervised by monks. And also that the benefits extracted are used to support the community itself. Currently this type of beer is only made in 12 of the 171 monasteries that exist in the world. Belgium is where the vast majority of them are found, specifically six. Three of these monasteries are located in the Walloon region and produce the Trappist beers Chimay, Rochefort and Orval.

For those who want to taste it in its original environment, the association Sentiers de Grand Randonnée (Long Distance Trails) has conceived the first thematic itinerary. Connects the three abbeys. It is a walking tour with a total of 290 km through the green landscapes of the region. All to discover first-hand the abbeys where these beers are made. The first stage is from Chimay to Rochefort, with 174 km. The second stage is the remaining 116 km from Rochefort to Orval.


The history of Chimay dates back to the 1862th century with a very local objective. It was in 1948 when the brewery inside Scourmont Abbey was founded thanks to the abundance of water they had and they decided to produce beer. Their secret lies in the raw materials used, with the best natural ingredients and the same strain of yeast that they have been using since XNUMX.

Contemplating the gardens or visiting the church are some of the activities that can be done as part of the Chimay Experience. ANDIn reality, it is an ode to beer culture. Just a few steps from the abbey, in the Chimay Space, there is a permanent interactive exhibition. It delves into discovering the secrets of making Chimay beers and its cheeses.
Furthermore, in the same place as the exhibition, there is the Auberge de Poteaupré, which in a warm and rural environment, offers the opportunity to taste the beers and cheeses that have been produced since 1876. There the remains of the cereal with which the beer is produced are used to feed the cows that produce milk with which their wonderful cheese is made.


After the first mandatory stop, a 174 km journey on foot, by car or by bicycle along the paths of Wallonia leads to the town of Rochefort. There is the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy, known for the production of Trappist beers Trappistes Rochefort since 1899.

The excellence of the materials makes Rochefort beers unique. The water is extracted from a well located in the monastery itself. In the factory, closed to the public, pilsner and Munich malts are used. Brown or white sugar is key to its high graduation. The abbey also prepares cheese, following the ancient recipes of the Trappist monks.

The church is open to the public and the Trappist products of the abbey can also be tasted in establishments in the region.


After the essential stop in Rochefort, it is time to continue the road to reach the charms of Orval, heading to the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Orval, one of the most important in Belgium.

The Trappist brewery, located inside the abbey, has been operating since 1931 with the recipe created by brewmaster Pappenheimer. It is worth visiting the medicinal plant garden and the monastic museum. The museum is dedicated to the architecture of the abbey, the steel industry and the Sacred Art exhibition. Also of great interest are the ruins that survived the destruction of the monastery during the French Revolution and the abbey, rebuilt in 1926. Of course, a visit to Orval cannot end without a tasting of the homonymous beer and Trappist cheeses. These can be tested in l'Ange Gardien, a surprising place that contributes to the reputation of the fabulous site of Orval and the tourist growth of an entire region.

A gastronomic stop ten minutes by car from the abbey is a must for chocolate lovers in Florenville, Les Chocolats d'Édouard. This store offers a thousand and one chocolate flavors and a relaxing tasting space.