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Italian monks' beer given Trappist approval

Added: Tuesday, May 12th 2015

Tre Fontane monks

A new Trappist beer has been launched by monks at an historic abbey in Rome, Tre Fontane. The 8.5% beer comes from the 11th official Trappist brewery: its beer was recognised this month as an “Authentic Trappist Product” by the International Trappist Association.

Tre Fontane means Three Fountains and the name stems from a legend that when St Paul was beheaded on the spot on the orders of Emperor Nero three fountains suddenly burst from the ground. The abbey was under Benedictine control for centuries and many leading cardinals were raised there. One abbot in the 12th century became Pope Eugene III. The abbey passed to the Trappists or Strict Cistercians in the 19th century following the unification of Italy.

Tre Fontane – its full name is the Abbey of Saints Vincent and Anastasius – also produces olive oil, honey, chocolate and a liqueur. The beer is based on a recipe held by the monks: it’s believed beer used to be brewed there until the abbey was suppressed during the Napoleonic period.

Earlier this year, the monks applied to the International Trappist Association to be granted the official Trappist logo for their beer. Following a visit and a tasting of the beer, the logo was awarded.

The beer is said to have a sweet flavour with a pronounced aroma of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus trees grow in the abbey grounds and its leaves are added during the brewing process.

The monks will brew 1,000 hectolitres a year. The beer is on sale in the shop in the abbey grounds and a few cafés and restaurants in Rome.

The 11 official Trappist breweries are:

Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Wetvleteren in Belgium.

La Trappe and Zundert in the Netherlands.

Engelszell in Austria.

Spencer in the United States

Tre Fontane in Italy.