Trappist abbey wants to know how many different glasses of W… (Malle)

Rik Vermeiren at one of his cabinets with various Westmalle Trappist glasses. © km

Westmalle

Westmalle Abbey wants to know how many types of Westmalle glasses exist. Collector Rik Vermeiren from Westmalle already has 285 different ones in his collection. “But the biggest glass collector lives in France”, he knows.

Kristin Matthyssen

The Trappist Abbey of Westmalle wants to map out how many different types of Westmalle glasses have ever been made. “We don’t have an archive of it,” says Manu Pauwels of the abbey brewery. That is why the abbey is now calling for photos of special Westmalle glasses.

Apparently, many glass manufacturers at the time considered it an honor to be allowed to make glass for Westmalle Abbey. The monks were always so charmed that they placed an order every time. Because the monks placed so many orders, at one point there were thousands of glasses in the brewery. The difference is in small details.

There are not only chalice-shaped glasses.

There are not only chalice-shaped glasses. © km

Leo Truyen from Lier is one of the largest collectors of attributes of the brewery of the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle. He is currently enjoying the sun in Greece, but estimates he has 150 different Westmalle glasses. Rik Vermeiren from Westmalle only started his collection nine years ago. At our request, he counted his glasses on Thursday. “I was shocked by it myself,” says Rik. “I arrive at 285, 54 of which have advertisements on them. I think Leo also has more than 150”, thinks Rik. “I have now also added those with different years. If I take that off, I get a hundred different ones.”

Flea markets, garage sales: now and then Rik can still find a rare gem.” I am now negotiating with another collector who has found four super rare glasses in the thrift shop in Tielt. In addition to the well-known chalice glasses, there are also ‘boerekes’ and ‘flutes’ from Westmalle, and also those German beer glasses with the Westmalle logo on them.

A difference in detail in the logo, a gold edge, a silver edge, a different font: that's how the collection grows.

A difference in detail in the logo, a gold edge, a silver edge, a different font: that’s how the collection grows. © km

A silver border, a gold border, without a border, blue letters, red letters, with Extra or Ertra on it, VAT (Brouwerij Trappisten Westmalle, the abbreviation the brewery sometimes used before the introduction of VAT): the collection looks impressive. There is even a plastic chalice-shaped Trappist glass from a festival.

No fear of VAT This glass is said to have been made around the introduction of VAT.

No fear of VAT This glass is said to have been made around the introduction of VAT. © km

Surprisingly, Westmalle’s biggest collector of Trappist glasses is a Frenchman: Cyriel Pagniez, born in Valenciennes and now residing in Douai. Absolutely crazy: Rik Vermeiren even knows a Brazilian who collects everything from Westmalle’s Trappist beer. “He normally comes back and forth twice a year,” says Rik. “I have two big bags ready for him. But because of corona he hasn’t been for a while now. Personally, I always like the idea that something that comes from Westmalle also returns to Westmalle, as hopefully will happen with that glass from Tielt.”

With an edge, without an edge: the difference is in the smallest details.

With an edge, without an edge: the difference is in the smallest details. © km

The monks always considered it an honor when someone wanted to make a glass.

The monks always considered it an honor when someone wanted to make a glass. © km

In addition to the well-known chalice glasses, there are also boerekes and flutes.

In addition to the well-known chalice glasses, there are also boerekes and flutes. © km

The font is also often different.

The font is also often different. © km

If you have an interesting glass or other attribute from the Abbey of the Trappists Westmalle, you can always contact Rik on tel. 0474-91.13.48