The designation "abbey beers" (Bières d'Abbaye
) originally applied to any monastic or monastic-style beer. After introduction of an official Trappist beer
designation by the International Trappist Association in 1997, it came to mean products similar in style or presentation to monastic beers.
In other words, an Abbey beer may be:
- produced by a non-Trappist monastery—e.g. Benedictine; or
- produced by a commercial brewery under commercial arrangement with an extant monastery; or
- branded with the name of a defunct abbey by a commercial brewer;
In 1999, the Union of Belgian Brewers introduced a "Certified Belgian Abbey Beer" (Erkend Belgisch Abdijbier
to indicate beers brewed under license to an existing or abandoned abbey,
as opposed to other abbey-branded beers which the trade markets using other implied religious connections, such as a local saint. The requirements for registration under the logo include the monastery having control over certain aspects of the commercial operation, and a proportion of profits going to the abbey or to its designated charities. Monastic orders other than the Trappists can be and are included in this arrangement.
The "Abbey beer" logo and quality label is no longer used for beers given the name of a fictitious abbey, a vaguely monastic branding or a saint name without mentioning a specific monastery. Some brewers may produce abbey-style beers such as dubbel or tripel, using such names but will refrain from using the term Abbey beer in their branding. Read more...