August 31, 2009

Westvleteren - The Holy Grail of Beer

We had the good luck of being at the right place a the right time to have the Westvleteren 12 from Brouwerij Westvleteren, the most sought after Trappist beer that is arguably the best beer in the world. First we were discussing good Belgian beers with the owner of a bar, and then suddenly, we were drinking a beer so good it would put most beer or even any other drink to shame.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a chalice (standard Chimay glass) at room temperature, the Belgian quadrupel drank more like a cognac than a traditional quad. Dark fruits are apparent, with rich date and fig, a little brown sugar...enough fruit and rich flavors to balance the alcohol of the beer so it remains smooth. There was no harsh edge or burn even on the finish. Some of the alcohol was noticeable on the nose but this beer was so enjoyable.
We could not believe how drinkable and balanced this was at 10.2% ABV. The bottle itself was over 4 years old (the 12 can age longer than most wines).

Our friend also had the Westvleteren 8 (dubbel style) which we offered to buy along with the rest of the 12 but to no avail. Either way, we are grateful for having the pleasure of tasting the best beer in the world. At least we didn't have to wait several hours in a car in rural Belgium for a small allotment.

If you come across any, don't pass up the chance to taste or buy. It is worth it no matter what it costs. A true once in a lifetime beer experience. We wish we had a couple of bottles to age at home.

Westvleteren 8 and 12 are only available (legally) through the brewery at Abbey of the Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren.

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