Westvleteren 12, a Trappist ale brewed by the St. Sixtus Abbey in Belgium, is considered one of the best beers in the world. It’s got a perfect score of 100 on Beer Advocate, and people travel to the brewery from all over the globe to get taste. So it’s no surprise that the decision to sell it this year in the U.S.—likely the only time this will ever happen—has got beer nerds in a frenzy, ready to wait in line early in the morning as if they were picking up a new pair of limited-edition Jordans.
NPR delves into the background of the brew’s stateside debut. The monks of St. Sixtus Abbey released just enough ale to fill 15,000 six-packs. Having taken vows of poverty, they want to fund-raise for a renovation of the abbey.
Since 1945, only 3,800 barrels of the ale have been produced each year. The monks chose importer Shelton Brothers to distribute the six-packs across the U.S. and left specific instructions for their sale: One pack per customer so that as many people as possible would get a chance to try the rare ale.
A six-pack is priced at $85. Still, the profit margin is by no means wide. Shelton Brothers indicates on its website that “most everybody working on this has agreed to either donate back or forgo profits to help maximize the money going to the Abbey.”
Each six-pack comes with two serving glasses that are imprinted with “a gilded message in Latin: Ad aedificandam abbatiam adiuvi—roughly, ‘I helped to build the abbey’.”
If anyone manages to get some, do let us know how it tastes.