While there are eight beer-brewing monasteries, collectively known as Trappists, the Abbey of Saint Sixtus remains much in the shadows when compared to its monastic brethren.
This is because their beer, unlike its better-known counterparts such as Chimay and Orval, is not sold commercially. In order to buy it, according to their website, one must call in advance, hope to have a little luck as their phone line is often busy, and give them your license plate number. Each car is allowed one crate.
In order to taste it, however, there is a lovely little visitor’s center just across the way from the Abbey. This is the only place in the world where the beer is available.
Why would one go to so much trouble just to drink beer you might ask? Easy, it is widely considered the best beer in the world.
And boy oh boy, I dare say I do agree.
The Westvleteren 12 is a strong, dark beer, coming in at 10.2%, and it is to this beer the Abbey owes all its fame.
The Westveletern 12 in all its glory.
I don’t usually enjoy dark beers, but this one was delightful with a caramel finish. I spent a lovely afternoon there with friends, drinking incredible beer and eating delicious cheese.
While we had a great time, we were definitely of the wrong age. We were the only young people in the room. And to make matters even more complicated, the menu is entirely in Flemmish, the servers only speak Flemmish, and all the other people in the establishment were speaking in Flemmish.
Not to worry, all one really needs to do is drink one Westveletern 12, and that 10.2% ABV makes everyone fast friends.
Check it out:
"In de Vrede"