This Trappist beer finds its origins in the pre-war bottled beer destined for the sick and infirm. But further back, 1899 was the year that first saw the monks of Saint-Remy in Rochefort light the fire under their kettles, in their new, small brewery. The beer they brewed then was a precursor of today's Rochefort 6.
Sales were modest to begin with, disrupted as they were by two World Wars. Those wars also shaped those early beers – the occupier decreed that beers should not have a density higher than 0.8°. But an exception was made for those beers intended for the sick. They could go as high as 5°.
So Rochefort 6 started out as a beer designed for 'medicinal purposes' only, attaining its present form with a little help from fellow Trappists. After the Second World War, when Rochefort was suffering from Chimay’s success, the 'confrères' of Chimay agreed to lend Rochefort a helping hand. The first fruit of that cooperation – and the oldest member of the Rochefort family – is the Rochefort 6. It was introduced to the market in 1953.
This fine brew, topped off by a red-bottle cap, is only produced for a few weeks every year. It is predominantly served in the abbey’s guest quarters. Of the members of Rochefort trio, this is the mildest and driest variety. The Rochefort 6 certainly has character, but it is less rich and complex than that of its two brothers. A mild and fruity beer, it is slightly herbal, malty and sweet, with a touch of caramel. The quiet bitterness it has only becomes apparent in the finish.