The Abbey of Rochefort or Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, which belongs to the Cistercians of Strict Observance (Trappists), is located in Rochefort in the province of Namur, Belgium. The abbey is famous for its spiritual life and its brewery. Life in the abbey is characterized by prayer, reading and manual work, the three basic elements of Trappist life. The motto of the abbey is Curvata Resurgo (Curved, I straighten up).
Around 1230, Gilles de Walcourt, count of Rochefort founded a monastery for Cistercian nuns called Secours de Notre-Dame. In 1464 the nuns left the monastery, and were replaced by monks from the Abbey of Cîteaux. In the 16th and 17th centuries the abbey suffered from war, famine and the plague; even so, around 1595 the first brewery was founded within the abbey. In 1789 the French revolutionary army invaded the Austrian Netherlands, and in 1797 the abbey was closed and sold. The abbey was demolished and the property converted to a farm. Material from the abbey was used for buildings in the town of Rochefort.
In 1887 the property was bought by the Trappist monks of Achel. The abbey was restored and new buildings were erected. A new brewery was founded, but it would take until 1952 for the brewery to produce enough beer to be sold. Like many strong Belgian beers, those produced at Rochefort age well and can be cellared for at least five years. The water for the beer is drawn from a well located inside the monastery walls.
As is usual with Trappist breweries, the beer is sold only in order to financially support the monastery and some other good causes. The monks will not increase production based on demand or profit motives, but only enough to support themselves, resulting in a fairly limited supply of beer availability. Currently there are approximately 15 monks resident at the monastery; the brewery is not open to the public.