The best, and maybe rarest, beer in the world.

4 Jun

A montage of beer. Clockwise from left: Piraat, Leffe Blonde and Brun, and Belgoo and Westvleteren

Along with eating, much of our vacation was dotted with beer breaks, because Belgium:beer::France:wine. The most notable beers we consumed were at Cambrinus, a bierbrasserie named after the “King of Beer” and serving over 300 varieties, including the ultra-rare Westvleteren. Why so rare? It’s a Trappist ale that’s not brewed for commercial distribution, and thus can only be purchased at the abbey store, or an establishment whose owner has gone and purchased it at the abbey store. Think of it as the Belgian equivalent to Dark Lord. And it’s the best beer in the world.

The massive, color-coded beer menu at Cambrinus

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, during which I almost ordered a bat, the server finally took pity on me and brought me a bottle of Westvleteren 12. It’s so non-commercial that it didn’t even have a label; basically, this is Trappist homebrew. The first whiff was spicy and aromatic in the best Belgian way; the first sip almost knocked me off my stool. It’s like eating a slice of bread. Extremely rich, spicy, fruited bread. Scratch that: it’s like eating an entire sandwich. This is the kind of beer that would get you through your Lenten fast.

Was it the best in the world? I don’t feel qualified to say, but I have to say that it was one of the most memorable (and unfortunately wiped out the memory of all the other lovely brews I tasted during the trip). I’d happily remain a subject of the King of Beer.

The Beer King's realm

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One Response to “The best, and maybe rarest, beer in the world.”

  1. Megara June 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    I think I’m going to stick to Trappist beer on my next Lenten fast.

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