12/12/12: Westvleteren XII Comes to Town

 
Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of the early 80’s?  If so, you’ll recall the sheer madness—adults searching high and low in a state of frenzy in their quest for the elusive toy. Yesterday brought a similar event. Instead of seeking  grotesque dolls, beer geeks across the land searched for six-packs of beer—$85 six-packs of beer. Why on earth would anyone willingly pay this outlandish price?  Here are a few facts to consider:

  • The coveted beer is Westvleteren XII (affectionately known as Westy 12).
  • It’s made by five Trappist monks who operate a brewery within the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in Belgium. Check out their website.
  • The monks sell their beer directly from the brewery. For the first time, they're selling it through retail on a one-time-only basis to raise cash to fix their crib. Actually, it’s a monastery—but let’s not quibble.
  • The six-pack is packaged in a special gift box which includes six 330 ml bottles and two Trappist beer goblets.
  • Westy XII is considered by many to be the best in the world—as evidenced by its high Rate Beer and Beer Advocate scores.
  • Finally, demand far exceeds supply.

The reasons above explain why I’m willing to part with $85 for this six-pack. If you follow my blog, you know I don’t drink crazy expensive beer. I guess it’s fair to say I’ve been caught up by the back story and hype.

Even if I’m lucky enough to get my hands on the beer, I know there’s decent chance I’ll be disappointed by its taste (see the Westy 12 reality check on Andy Couch’s Beer Scribe). I'm willing to take that risk given the rapidly approaching Mayan Doomsday on December 21. Sadly, most of the stores across the country are already sold out, so I’m not likely to get any.   

Another aspect of this release is unique. ALL of the proceeds go directly to the renovation of the monastery. NO ONE in the distribution or retail chain is allowed to make a profit on the sale of this beer. Anyone selling this beer (outside of the grey market) had to agree to forgo profits. Those monks drive a hard bargain, don’t they?!?  For more on Westymania ’12, check out Jeff Alworth’s coverage on Beervana.

Would you pay $85 for any six pack?  Were you one of the lucky few to land the Westy 12?  How does it taste?


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