On April 22, 1836, the monastery was elevated to the official status of a Trappist abbey. Westmalle chose to brew beer, the most popular drink in their region. During 1836, Abbot Martinus Dom ordered a small brewery to be built. On December 10, 1836 the monks served their first Trappist beer from Westmalle with their lunch. This tradition gave rise to today’s Westmalle Extra, which is still the monks’ beer. For many years the abbey brewed beer only for its own use. From 1856 the monks occasionally sold beer at the gate. This was a great success: within a short time, demand grew to such an extent that the brewery had to be expanded in both 1865 and 1897. In 1921 the monks decided to sell their beer through beer merchants. Sales increased even more.
The monks are keen to use new technology if this benefits the quality of their beers.
The brewery has selected the purest ingredients for over 180 years: their own water, 100% barley malt, genuine hop cones, sugar and yeast from the abbey’s own culture. This is how this traditional beer is brewed, in defiance of any trends. Each investment is made to achieve a higher quality. This has been the guiding principle throughout the history of the brewery.