Wednesday, August 20, 2008


In my first post on this blog, I mentioned going to Europe. I spent about four days in various places in Belgium, and several days in Amsterdam. One of the days in Belgium, I got a chance to go and visit the Westvleteran Brewery. This was an awesome experience, given that the Westvleteran 12 is pretty consistently rated as the best beer in the world.

My first experience with the Westvleteran 12 was in February 2006 when I was in Brussels for the FOSDEM conference. I remembered it as "good, but with sort of a sweet/bock style flavor." I'm not a bock beer fan, so on this trip, I was approaching the 12 with a little trepidation. At the cafe there next to the abbey, I ordered a pint. Woah. Way way better than I remembered. No wonder it gets such great ratings.

Getting a hold of Westvleteran beer is difficult. The abbey only sells to individuals, and only one case maximum at a time. And not all varieties on any given week. The stuff is in huge demand, but they won't alter production. The abbey doesn't need more money, so they don't make more beer.

If you get a chance to go, or a chance to try the Westvleteran beers, then go for it! You won't be disappointed.

(and yes, I brought some home with me...)


Karl Fogel said...

How big is the line when you go to buy it? (Or does it vary depending on season?) I don't have any trips planned right now, but someday I'm gonna get there.

Greg Stein said...

You can't just show up at the abbey to buy the beer... need a reservation for that. And the line is BUSY. Call from in-country, too; I didn't do well calling from the US.

At the cafe, the line isn't bad at all. They sell a gift pack that has two blonds, an 8, a 12, and a Westvleteran glass.