The Trappist St. Benedict Abbey of Achel (Sint Benedictus Abdij – De Achelse Kluis) which belongs to the Cistercians of Strict Observance (Trappists), is located in Achel in Flanders, Belgium.
The early roots of the Abbey date back to 1686, when Petrus van Eynatten, a son of the mayor of Eindhoven, founded a community of hermits of Saint Joseph at Achel. The community would flourish until 1789 when they were expelled from their convent after the French revolutionary army invaded the Austrian Netherlands.
In 1844, the ruins were rebuilt as a Trappist priory by monks from Westmalle. Beer was first brewed on the site in 1852; in 1871 the priory was granted the status of abbey and beer brewing became a regular activity. By reclaiming waste land, the agriculture and cattle-breeding of the abbey prospered. In addition several daughter-houses were founded.
At the beginning of World War I the monks left the abbey. The Germans dismantled the brewery in 1917 to salvage the copper. After World War II a new abbey was built between 1946 and 1952, but with only two wings of the planned four completed. In 1989 the abbey sold most of its land to the Dutch National Forest Administration and the Flemish Government. In 1998, with support from the Trappists of Westmalle and Rochefort, brewing started again. While brewing continues today, Achel no longer carries the "Authentic Trappist Product" logo, as the last two monks moved to Westmalle Abbey in 2021. This in no way detracts from the fact that it is a quality Trappist beer, made to the same standards as before, but not under the direct supervision of the monks.