Beer from the Westvleteren Trappist Brewery is a treat bestowed on only the few who are 1) willing to reserve their ONE case (the maximum you are allowed to buy) by "beerphone;" 2) able to get to Belgium; and, 3)able to drive to the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren to personally pick the beer up. OR those who have a hook-up like a fellow beer fanatic friend whose company headquarters are in Belgium! YEAH.
As with all other Trappist breweries, the beer is only sold in order to financially support the monastery and other philanthropic causes. Trappist breweries are supposed to exist to make just enough money to help run the monastery and not necessarily to make a profit.
Modern commercial breweries might say "Vous etes fou!" to these selling methods, but the Father Abbott on the opening of their new brewery said, "We are no brewers. We are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks." It is the only Trappist brewery where the monks still do all of the brewing with only FIVE monks running the brewery, with an additional five monks helping during bottling. Its no wonder this beer is so rare!
So, back to me. This morning my friend called me and said, "I have something for you." I told him to say "The eagle has landed," but I guess he forgot - Anyway... tonight he is bringing me the Westvleteren Blonde (green cap) a 5.8% ABV beer for me to try for the very first time. This style is relatively new (about 10 years old) but its comes from a brewing tradition that started in 1838. This Blonde style is the beer that replaced a previously produced lighter beer that served as the monks' table beer.
The brewery currently brews only three beers: the Blonde, Westvleteren 8 (blue cap,) 8% ABV and Westvleteren 12 (yellow cap,) at 10% ABV. The members of BeerAdvocate.com and RateBeer.com (my two favorite websites), consistently rate the Westvleteren 12 as their most favorite beer. The 12 is considered by many to be the best beer in the world.
So here I go. Tonight, I become de-virginized. Tonight I drink Westvleteren.
I'll let you know how it was.