Westvleteren, the Almighty

Before coming to Belgium, to be honest, I wasn’t a huge beer lover. An occasional local dark beer with friends, and that was more or less it.

I could have never imagined how my attitude towards beer would completely change after tasting some of the finest Belgian beers.  Having experienced the most famous ones, I thought that was it – no beer could ever impress me more than the ones I tried. But then, surprisingly, I started hearing the story about ‘’The best beer in Belgium’’, an exclusive, mysterious brew, which is really hard to get. I got curious, and wanted to find out more.

In West Flanders, there exists an old Trappist monastery called ‘’Sint Sixtus Abdij’’, located in the village of Westvleteren, who’s monks produce this famous beer. Since the monks live a frugal life and don’t care much about materialistic possessions, they are producing it in extremely small quantities, but selling it at reasonable prices. What makes this beer even more unique and special is the fact that it was nominated for the ‘’BEST BEER IN THE WORLD’’ at the world beer competition a few years ago.

You want it? There’s a catch:

Every other Wednesday in month, from 8 am till noon, the monks open the beer telephone line, and expectedly, it is extremely hard to get through (obviously, the monks do not run a call center). The lucky ones who make a connection, get a chance to make a reservation for 2 casks, and are obliged to leave the car plate number of the car that they will use to pick up the beer. A person with this plate number won’t be able to purchase Westvleteren for next 60 days.

So, what else could I do, then wake up last Wednesday and start ringing from 8:00. So as expected the line was busy first time, then second, third, …, 100th time it was still busy. The time was passing and just like in movies, after almost an hour of trying, when I was about to give up it rang. I cannot describe how shocked I was. I was making the reservation for my 2 casks and couldn’t believe that it was really happening.

A few days ago, me and Arjan went by his car and picked it up. Our two casks of the best beer in the world were in trunk, travelling with us back to Gent, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

westvleteren

So, the long-anticipated moment has arrived and we were about to taste the beer. Not sure if placebo played a role, but experience of drinking Westvleteren was really something peculiar. What impressed me the most is the fine bitter aftertaste that stays for quite a long time.

Since I probably haven’t tried enough beers neither I have a super refined taste for them, I cannot tell with certainty if this is the best beer in the world, but surely it is one of the nicest beverages I have ever tasted. And the whole process of getting it makes it even more memorable.

Fortunately, for the ones who aren’t lucky as I was, but still want to taste it, it is possible to buy it in certain pubs around Belgium. As expected it is quite pricey, but trust me, you won’t regret your money spent on Westvleteren.

westvleteren-2

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