In the most remote corner of West Flanders, in the middle of "Le Plat Pays", in the
heart of the hop area in West Flanders, a beer is made that fancies most of the beer
In this poetry village, called Watou, time is apparently passing by slower than in the
rest of the country. Life over there is different, quieter; where people live in
accordance with nature, where tradition and values are honoured.
The history of our brewery is connected to 2 trappist monasteries, one gave us our
name, the other gave us our beer.
The Cheese Factory - Trappist monks of Mont des Cats in Godewaersvelde, France.
Due to the anti clerical policy in the beginning of the past century, the Catsberg
Abbey Community, located in the northern part of France, decided to move to
Watou, a small village only a couple of kilometres further away but located in
They transformed a farm into the "Refuge Notre Dame de St.Bernard" and started
with the production of Abbey cheese.
In the early thirties, the attitude versus the monks improved and in 1934, the Abbey
community decided to dispose of the Belgian annex and to bring back all activities
Mr. Evarist Deconinck took over the cheese factory from the Trappist monks and
expanded the cheese factory. The most important cheese was sold under the name
NB: The cheese factory was sold in 1959 and the production is now in the hands of
Belgomilk in Moorslede.
The Brewery - Trappist Monks of Westvleteren
Shortly after the Second World War, the Trappist Monastery St.Sixtus in
Westvleteren was looking for somebody to commercialise their beer because they
did not want to do that themselves anymore.
They gave a license to the cheesefactory, and Brewery St.Bernard was founded.
The brew master from Westvleteren, Mathieu Szafranski (from Polish origin) became
a partner in the brewery and brought along the recipes, the know-how and the
St.Sixtus yeast strain.
We started selling the trappist beers under the brand names Trappist Westvleteren,
St.Sixtus or even later Sixtus.
During a period of 46 years we brewed and commercialised the beers, while the
monks continued to brew for themselves and for sales to 3 pubs in the
neighbourhood, amongst which In De Vrede, just next to the monastery.
In 1992 the license came to an end and since then we are brewing the same beers,
with the same recipes, but under a different brand name: St.Bernardus.