May 26, 2013

Se Perdre

We were warned about the difficulty of locating the greatest beer in the world before we went on our quest, and yet we didn’t fully realize the legitimacy of such claims.

It wasn’t until after we crossed the Belgian border (granted that only took about twenty minutes) that we realized we had forgotten to look up the actual address of the monastery.

No matter, we thought, we knew which city it was in. We put “Westvelteren” into the GPS, and found a street with the same name of the Abbey, “St. Sixtus.”

The GPS lead us to a residential street. Knowing that the abbey is located in the middle of fields, we decided to follow a sign indicating “Westvelteren” as well as fields.

We quickly found ourselves driving along a dirt pathway in the middle of nowhere, with no street signs, and no abbey in sight, very lost.

Luckily, a friend was supposed to meet us at the monestary. We gave him a call to ask him for the address, but as a regular he didn't know. Deciding to wait for him to look it up, we drove to the nearest town, Poperinge, which ended up being very charming with Flandres style architecture.

Poperinge, Belgium town center.

Originally we had planned on having a late-ish lunch comprised of the bread and cheese also made by the monks, but as it was fast approaching 15h and not knowing if we'd ever make it to the beer holy land, we decided to find a snack.

What better to tide us over than some fresh Belgian fries? Unfortunately, all the restaurants and fry stands were closed except one, however they only spoke flamand(Belgian Dutch). After asking them if they served fries, they replied in a broken English that nobody served fries at this hour.

It wasn't a complete waste of time, however. Thanks to a display, we learned that 80% of Belgian hops are grown in Poperinge. An appropriate stop indeed.

Not to worry, we ended up getting the address, tasting delicious cheese, and enjoying the best beer in the world. And yes, it lived up to it’s name.

Westvleteren Bruin 12 and abbey-made cheese.

But if you ever visit it, make sure to have the address.

Check it out:
"In de Vrede"
Donkerstraat 13
Tel. 057/40.03.77


  1. I love those trips where you stumble across a new place by accident (which happens so often in Europe when one inevitably gets lost). :)

  2. Wow the pickles (and picked onions?) look great as well! I can't wait to visit - but when your are limited to 10 days or less there just does not seem time enough to get lost - and how can you have the great adventure without getting lost?

  3. That looks amazing. I wish I had access to all that great beer. :) Spain is finally hopping on the artisanal beer trend.

  4. Cool! We plan to go to In de Vrede over Christmas time this year. I hope they are open! Just found your blog because I would love to be an American girl living in France someday and it was a bonus to see this post!


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