St Benedictus Abdij - Achel

In brief...

The community arrived in Achel in 1846. The first beers to be served at the monastery came from local brewers. (main suppliers : Koeckhofs in Achel, F.H Spaas, J. Simons and the widow Ballings of Hamont.)
A royal decree of 1850, july 12th, gave to the abbey of Achel the license to brew beer. The cooper, Mr Koeckhofs of Achel and Mr Kloosterman contributed to the installation of the tanks of the brewery.
The first brewery was operational around 1852. A malt factory was also installed. Volume of production unknown. The production was exclusively reserved for the community. The abbey then brewed a strong beer of 12° called “ 'T Patersvatje” (the small barrel of the Father). We do not know for certain the identity of the first brewer, but the name of Ceusters is regularly quoted in the declarations of excises
The brewery was sometimes registered under the names of the abbots; thus can be found denominations like “Verstraeten brewery” from 1896 to 1913 and “Lans brewery” from 1913 to 1926, names of the abbots at that time.
Once the first world war was ended, Achel was not able to rebuild its brewery, because the request for a case of war damages did not succeed.
Brewery "De Kluis" in Hoegaarden, leaded by Pierre Celis, starts to brew beer for Achel. The beer was named "Trappistenbier De Achelse Kluis" and was soon renamed "Trappisten abdij - Sint Benedict ".  
When the brewery De Kluis burned in 1985, the production was taken by Sterkens in Meer, which brewed a “Kluyserbier Achel.” The brewery De Teut in Neerpelt brewed the Saint Benedict beer from 1991 to 1995.
Brother Thomas, the famous brewer of Westmalle, designed the first “outlines” of the beers of Achel. Brother Antoine (the former brewer of Rochefort), being then retired in the abbey of Achel, took over to help the project along, and also to develop and improve the range of beers.

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