The Cistercian Abbey “Notre Dame du Val-Dieu” was founded in 1216 by monks from Hocht, near Maastricht. According to legend, the uninhabited valley in which they settle is so hostile that the local population called it the "valley of the devil". The monks renamed it "Valley of God" or "Val-Dieu" in french. Which later gave its name to the abbey. The monastery developed during the Middle Ages and has its golden age in the 18th century.
The abbey of Val-Dieu is the only Belgian abbey that survived the French Revolution. Today the abbey is occupied by the Christian Community of Val-Dieu. It is linked to the Cistercian Order, and in particular to the abbey of Lérins. It follows the rule of St Benedict and the Benedictine and Cistercian tradition.
THE MOTTO OF THE ABBEY : "IN VINCULO PACIS"
Since its origins in 1216, the emblem of the Abbey of Val-Dieu is symbolized by the two rings, and by its motto "In vinculo pacis". This latin phrase means "In the bond of peace”. Those two rings are found everywhere in the abbey (wall, floor, windows, chairs, doors, fireplace ...) and are still present on the pendant worn by members of the Christian Community. These rings are also a sign of recognition between them when visiting sister monasteries. They are also found in the background of the labels of the Val-Dieu beer. This motto reminds us constantly that getting together and humility are on the path to happiness. Have lots of sweetness and patience, put up with others with love, make sure to preserve the unity of the spirit through « the bond of peace ». This peace must be reached with God, with the neighbor and with oneself.
THE BREWERY OF VAL-DIEU
The beers brewed today at the abbey find their origin in traditions inherited from the original Val-Dieu monks. Historically, the Cistercian orders were known to be talented brewers. The monks of Val-Dieu were true to this reputation. The development of the brewing activity was initially linked to the need to make water drinkable and thus avoid such common diseases in those days as dysentery, cholera and typhoid.
For centuries, the monks studied yeasts and fermentation. They turned brewing into a science, creating special recipes which were every time more sophisticated. Today, beers brewed in Val-Dieu are inspired from the original recipes of the monks, loyal to the tradition of beers refermentation in the bottle. The beers are real original Belgian abbey beers, elaborated without the addition of flavorings nor spices and brewed according to the old infusion method.
THE SECRETS OF THE BREWERY
The secrets of the brewery are its water and its yeast.
Yeast is treasured in the abbey and propagated by us. Brewing yeast is composed of fungi (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that are very beneficial to the human body and allowing the famous fermentations. This gives a beer that is rich in vitamin B and minerals and is a powerful antioxidant. Our production process lasts 6 to 8 weeks, in full respect of the original tradition. That is how we get this high alcohol content (6% for the Blond beer, 8% for the Brown one, 9% for the Triple) and this complex aromas that characterizes the Val-Dieu beers.
Our water comes from the Gileppe dam. Our region has many water springs giving a water of excellent quality. Some of those local springs are known worldwide such as Spa, Bru and Chaudfontaine, all located within 20-30 kilometers from Val-Dieu.
The Val-Dieu Blond is a fresh and light beer, moderately alcoholized, and a strong friendly character. It is perfect for aperitif or as digestive. It can also accompany a good meal. It does not dry the mouth and develops progressively a pleasant and bitter character. Chilled, it will be more pleasant to drink. It will keep a light white foam coat throughout the tasting.
The Brown Val-Dieu is colored. Its aroma is more pronounced, with a coffee / mocha character. The mocha taste will disappear progressively to make room for a taste of roasted malt that is neither too neutral nor too strong. It is very slightly spicy, reminding that it is before all a beer for degustation. Chambered or tempered, it suits all circumstances.
The Val-Dieu Triple is the result of a long fermentation, scrupulously followed by the brewmaster. Its deep yet soft bitterness does not interfer with the discovery of its components. The taste of the hop comes through, naturally aromatized, accompanied by an alcoholic after taste. It can be associated with refined dishes and ranks among the great beers. It may be found in the some of the most exclusive restaurants.