A rare Belgian beer called Westvleteren XII — often hailed as the best beer in the world — has made its U.S. debut, although the elusive brew may not be sold here for long.
Westvleteren XII is produced by Trappist monks at the abbey of Saint Sixtus in the Belgian countryside, and only available for purchase through hard-to-get reservations. The beer’s sudden appearance in the States is a financial necessity for the abbey — after a round of expensive renovations, the monks decided to sell the beer outside the monastery for one time only.
Westvleteren Brewery spokesman Mark Bode told NPR that he believed “it will be the last [time]” the beer would be sold in this manner. “They say, ‘We are monks, we don’t want to be too commercial. We needed some money to help us buy the new abbey and that’s it,’ Back to normal again.”
Beginning Dec. 12, a limited number of stores are selling “bricks” of the beer — a gift box with six 11.2-ounce bottles and two glasses — for $84.99.
In the midst of Westvleteren-induced hoopla, LAWeekly brings forth a good point that it’s “problematic to name something the best in the world if it’s also the least available in the world.” Not to say that the beer isn’t good, it is: “Westy is good — really, really good. It’s the kind of beer that calls upon the drinker to note things like leather and pipe tobacco and a litany of other snobbish descriptors.”
At this point, many stores carrying the brew are already sold out, but we’re seeing some offerings cropping up on eBay. Predictably, there’s quite a markup in some instances.