After careful consideration the community of Maria Toevlucht Abbey decided in 2009 to start a small brewery. A small brewery, because ‘monks brew to live, they don’t live to brew’. In 2012 construction started.
De Kievit farm
Manual labour plays an important role in Cistercian spiritual tradition. From the start in 1900, at Maria Toevlucht, this manual labour was primarily agricultural in nature. A farm belonged to the monastery. That farm was named after a farmland bird that used to be abundant in the region: the lapwing, or “kievit” in Dutch. In later years we primarily had livestock. Around the turn of the century, we had to end this activity.
Why a brewery
After the termination of our agricultural endeavours, we searched for a new activity that would fit us while providing a sound balance between effort and revenue. Our abbey, as well as our activities were always relatively small, compared to other trappist abbeys. After careful consideration we decided in 2009 to start a small brewery. A small brewery, because as it has been stated: monks brew to live, they don’t live to brew’. In 2012 construction started.
A glass brewery
The brewery is located in the former haystack of the old farm. The outer walls are made of frosted glass. In this way the characteristic concrete roof trusses are still visible inside and outside of the brewery. A windvane in the form of a lapwing still graces the roof of the brewery, just as it has graced the farm house before. Naturally, the brewery not only inherited this wind vane, but also the name of the brewery. That is why the brewery is called “De Kievit” (Dutch for ‘the lapwing”). In December 2013, the mayor of Zundert, Leny Poppe-de Looff, opened our brewery.
The beginning of Zundert Trappist ales
Together with the brewery, we also had to develop a beer. There wasn’t an old dusty book full of recipes from times past. To get a feeling which flavours our beers should have, some of the brethren held several tasting sessions under professional supervision. We tasted very different beers, from sours to smoked ales and from porter to IPA. This way we got a feeling which style of beer fits us best. While tasting, we firstly decided upon the beautiful copper hue of Zundert 8 Tripel Trappist.
Tasting, discussing, test brews, once again tasting and brewing eventually led to the recipe we now know as Zundert 8 Tripel Trappist: an ale with 8% alcohol that scents of caramel and spices that are used in beers from ancient times.
The choice for a name for our beers was easy: Zundert Trappist, simply named after the town we call home.
Zundert 8 gets a sister beer
During the first years we only brewed one beer: Zundert 8. When, after five years, we were fully convinced that the beer was perfect and it had gained its place on the market, it was time to think about a second beer. Shortly after the start of the brewery, we received requests to brew a darker quadruple to supplement our portfolio. We have heeded this request in the summer of 2018. Zundert 10 Quadrupel Trappist deep ruby brown quadruple with the herbal touch that is the hallmark of all our beers. During the 2019 Dutch Beer Challenge, Zundert 10 Quadrupel Trappist was awarded the gold medal for the best quadrupel of the Netherlands.
Our own table beer
In the year that we celebrate the tenth anniversary of Trappistenbrouwerij De Kievit, we introduce a new beer. Zundert 4 Refterbier is a blond and accessible trappist beer containing 4% alcohol. The characteristic herbs of all Zundert Trappist beers are noticable as well in this beer. For this beer we return to the use of rye as raw material. Rye has been grown for centuries in this area, also for use in beer brewing. Combined with our local herbs, this grain gives the beer a spicy hint. It makes that Zundert 4 Refterbier is light but full of character. The name refers to the ‘refectory’, as the eating hall in a monastery is known.
We have paid a lot of attention to our labels. On the one side, they have to fit the centuries old monastic tradition, on the other hand it may be clear that Trappist brewery De Kievit is a young brewery. On the label you’ll find a modern, proud lapwing. Its head sticks out of the grass. The Dutch translation for lapwing is ‘kievit’. The name of the brewery refers to ‘De Kievit’ farm where our monastery originated. The brewery is the continuation of the farm. The lapwing is set in a pentagonal keystone, which you can find above the windows in our abbey. The word ‘Zundert’ is written in a very traditional way. Our brewery takes root in a centuries old tradition after all. But if you look very carefully, you’ll discover that we made a little play. The letter ‘d’ in Zundert is altered in such a way, that it has the same tuft as the lapwing.
People often ask us if the colour purple has some special significance for the beer. We would love to reply with ‘yes’. But the truth is, the colour is a splendid coincidence. We had planned on using a different colour scheme, and the designers had inserted a purple version as well, just as a practice. Maybe they were inspired by the purple flowering heather on the estates surrounding the abbey, the purple dahlias used at Zundert Corso or the rhododendron in bloom at the gate. We don’t know. But we liked the colour so much, that we chose it to be the hallmark of our beer labels.
Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, that Thou hast been pleased to bring forth from the sweetness of the grain: that it might be a salutary remedy for the human race: and grant by the invocation of Thy holy name, that, whosoever drinks of it may obtain health of body and a sure safeguard for the soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
© Trappistenbrouwerij de Kievit 2022