I’m cheating on you today. I’m in Italy drinking … red wine! Perish the thought. I thought this a great opportunity to welcome in a guest blogger … someone who knows and loves beer as much as, if not more than, me. Please put your hands together and welcome him to the stage … @RussWebbGA!
Recently my pal BabyGotBeer did a blog about his Beer Bucket List, and I think all serious beer lovers have a list of brews that we aspire to get a chance to sample. My list is pretty long and ranges from once brewed Sam Adams Millennium to Heady Topper from The Alchemist. BGB’s perfect six pack contained some pretty amazing selections, and as fate would have it I recently had the opportunity to have the first one on his list, Westvleteren XII.
Considered by many to be the very best beer in the world, and holding a perfect score from Beer Advocate, the monks at the Abbey of St. Sixtus have been brewing Westvleteren since 1838 and making the elusive W 12 since 1940. The current production is 60,000 cases per year…the same that it has been since 1946. The beer is only sold at the Abbey and only to those with an appointment. Thankfully I have a friend who is a fellow beer enthusiast who made just such an appointment on his trip to Belgium, and brought home a few to savor and share with beer geeks like me.
The first thing you notice is the bottle, which has no label and has information imprinted on it and made into the bottle. After reading more about this beer I was waiting for a special occasion to try it, and finally decided that any day that I drank it would indeed be a special occasion!
Pouring the beer into a chalice, it was a beautiful reddish brown with a slight head. It smells of toffee and fruit, but the taste is pure malt with slight hints of sweetness. At 10.2% I never expected it to be as smooth as it was, but this is a VERY drinkable beer and it took great restraint to take time and enjoy every drop. My friend who gave me this jewel has told me that it ages beautifully and the taste will change the longer the beer is allowed to develop.
Is this the world’s best beer? I am a huge fan of Chimay (Blue, if you’re shopping for me) and it has
been my favorite beer for a long time. I will tell you that the W 12 is a perfect beer…that’s right…perfect. The only downside to it is that is pretty much unattainable to most of us, so I consider myself very lucky to have been able to have one and get to enjoy it. If I am ever in the vicinity of Vleteren, Belgium (or maybe even an adjoining country)…I think a visit to the Westvleteren Brewery to meet the brilliant monks of St. Sixtus will be in the cards. Yes, it IS that good.