Abdij Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koningshoeven
IWC members and their guests enjoyed a beautiful Saturday in June touring the Koningshoeven Abbey in Berkel-Enschot. Reservations were required for the formal tour as a limited number of spaces were available.
The tour began with a short historical education about the humble beginnings of the Abbey and the monks that live, work and operate the brewery. At the time of our visit there were 16 monks in residence at the Abbey. The monks are responsible for the brewing of the beer, the making of bread, cleaning, cooking and just about every other job you can think of. They follow a strict schedule of work, prayer and rest in intervals of 8 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
There are three tenets that govern the brewery.
- The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
- The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and business practices must be adapted to ensure a proper monastic way of life.
- The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. Income from the brewery covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. The remaining profit is donated to charity for social work and to help those in need.
The end of the tour delivered us back to the tasting part of the facility where we could all indulge in a sample of the Trappist beer of choice. There was also a lovely bistro style menu and our group took advantage a delicious lunch in the sun on the terrace. In addition to the tour and tasting, the monastery maintains a visitors centre where a selection of Trappist beers can be purchased along with other monastic products such as bread, candles and books. It was an enjoyable day for all.