Zundert: The Tenth Trappist Beer

The very closed circle of Trappist beers widened last year. Having incorporated Spencer (St. Joseph’s Abbey, USA) in 2013, this core group welcomed Zundert (Abbey Maria Toevlucht, Zundert, Noord Brabant, Netherlands) and Tre Fontane (Tre Fontane Abbey, Italy) in 2014. From now on, eleven beers are allowed to wear the famous ATP (Authentic Trappist Product) logo.

Zundert’s entry into the circle was an enormous surprise. Indeed, the brewery de Kievit, installed within the abbey, had only been in operation for a year. Many observers were astounded to see this protected, restricted and historical trademark opening to a beer so young.

This beer comes in at 8% ABV, and is of a lovely copper-gold color. It’s a paradox: The nose is dry, spicy, and finally hoppy, while the first taste is resolutely malted. This Zundert develops a fairly big sweetness, which then serves to balance a pronounced bitterness. That’s where all its sophistication lies, because we expect a triple and don’t find it.

But it’s a very good drink, with plenty of life in its paradoxical profile. Having said that, this Zundert may be a little short of its historic Trappist elders (such as Achel, Orval, and Westmalle). In fact, though well-born, I think it still has to mature.