The importance of work in the life of a Trappist monk

In accordance with the spiritual tradition of the Cistercians, manual labour plays a prominent role. God can also be found in labour, or as it is written in the memorial stone of the external wall of the old farm: ‘So that in all things God may be glorified’ (1 Peter 4:11). This refers to the Rule of Saint Benedict (RB 57:9), a major source of inspiration for our monastic life.
Already in the time of Saint Benedict, now around 1,500 years ago, the necessary crafts were practised inside the monastery walls. Here at Our Lady of Refuge, since 1900 this largely entailed farming activities in that the monastery was connected to a farm, called the Kievit, up until the present exchange for brewing.

Why a brewery?

After the farming activities came to an end we looked for an activity that in terms of format and size, provided a good ratio between the required effort and financial yield, as well as a size that was appropriate for us. Our abbey as a whole and also the activity always had a relatively small-scale character in comparison with most other Trappist abbeys.
In 2009, careful consideration led to the decision to start a small brewery. A small brewery, because as it’s already been said: ‘monks brew to live and do not live to brew’. Building work began in 2012.

De Kievit, from farm to brewery

The brewery was built in the so-called ‘Open Tas’ building, where the hay was stored in the old farm. The characteristic concrete rafters are still visible. A weather vane in the shape of a lapwing stands proudly on the roof, as it did in times past on the farm. It goes without saying that the brewery didn’t just inherit the weather vane, but also the name to go with it! And so it became Brouwerij De Kievit (The Lapwing Brewery).

The Mayor of Zundert, Leny Poppe-de Looff, opened our brewery on 6 December 2013. The next weekend, Zundert Trappist was exclusively available in catering establishments in Zundert. The rest of the Netherlands and Belgium soon followed. Since 2015, Zundert Trappist has also been exported to other European countries.

The creation of Zundert Trappist

We had to develop a beer as well as a brewery. We could not rely on a recipe from the distant past found in a dusty old book. We deliberately opted for a Trappist beer with a distinctive character. Following a number of tasting sessions in the monastic community and several test brews, we finally achieved the characteristic colour and taste.
And the name, well, that was obvious: Zundert Trappist, simply referring to its place of origin. This simplicity also characterises our range. Trappist brewery De Kievit of the Abbey of Our Lady of Refuge only brews this one type of beer.