Many beer lovers have heard of the famed Trappist Westvleteren 12. Not only is this beer at the top of all “best beer” lists, but it also received a rating of 100 points on Beer Advocate. There is something else that is special about this beer besides the rating; you can only get it two places in the world, and it’s within driving distance.
In the Western corner of Belgium, you can find the St. Sixtus Abbey. The monks at this Abbey brew three types of beer. All of the beers rate very high on top beer lists.
- Trappist Westvleteren 12: Quadrupel, 10.20% ABV, 100 points on Beer Advocate, yellow cap
- Trappist Westvleteren 8: Dubbel, 8.00% ABV, 100 points on Beer Advocate, blue cap
- Trappist Westvleteren Blonde: Belgium Pale Ale, 5.80% ABV, 95 points on Beer Advocate, green cap
Like I mentioned, these beers are only sold at the Abbey with a reservation or at the Abbey’s Peace Cafe.
How do I make a reservation?
- Go to their website: http://www.sintsixtus.be/eng/brouwerij.htm and click the link for “Up-to-date Information.”
- You will see a calendar. The calendar will span a two-week period. Each day will have the times that the Abbey is open for appointments and which kind of beer that they are selling that day.
- Select the day that you can get there and call the Abbey in the time that is listed for that day. (From your German cell, call 00 32 70 21 00 45, International rates may apply)
- They will tell you a time you can come and they will take down your license plate number. The beer appointment is made using your license plate number and you may not make another appointment for another 60 days using that same license plate.
- Everyone who goes to the Brewery gets the same thing. You get two cases of the beer that is offered that weekend.
How do I pick up the beer?
- At your appointment time, you drive into a circular driveway (GPS coordinates are on their website). One monk will put the beer in your trunk, and then you pull through to the window to pay. You pay with a credit card at the window. It it like a drive-thru!
I highly recommend making time to eat lunch at the Peace Cafe. They have a great variety of traditional food and they serve a cheese that is made at the Abbey. It is delicious! They also make ice cream with the beer. I know, beer ice cream can seem a little different, but it tastes almost like a caramel creme. It is divine. The other nice thing about the cafe is that you can taste all of the beers.
The Peace Cafe has a gift shop. If you get there early enough, you can purchase 1 6-pack per person of a mixed variety of the beers brewed at the Abbey. We had a late afternoon appointment so all of the beer was gone by the time we got there. I suggest getting there early so you can be sure to get it!
From Stuttgart, it is a long drive (7-8 hours), so we chose to stop at Ramstein AFB to stay the night and break up the drive. There are many other places to stay and the drive takes you through German wine country, so you could make a drinking weekend out of it.
Please email me or comment if you have any questions about the process.