Barrel of Monks co-founder Bill McFee's favorite Belgian beer is Westvleteren 12, a quad brewed by monks at the Abbey of Saint Sixtus in Belgium.
But you won't find this beer on any shelves in your local liquor store, or pouring from taps at even the best local beer bars. Instead, the closest you'll get to sampling it — short of smuggling an unlabeled bottle from the Trappist monk's monastery brewery back to the US — will be as a VIP ticket holder during an all-new event slated to take place this weekend in Delray Beach.
Dubbed "The Best of the Belgians Brew Fest," the festival stands as partnership between the Boca Ballet Theatre Company and Barrel of Monks Brewing, an all-new, suds-inspired event focusing on Belgian-made and Belgian-style beer. The inaugural event will take place on Saturday, February 9, from 2 to 6 p.m. inside an air-conditioned facility at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach that will feature beers from over 30 breweries, live music, and food trucks.
According to McFee, the event will be the first of its kind in South Florida to feature Belgian-made and Belgian-inspired beers from breweries around world, including many local brews, offering beer lovers a rare opportunity to sample an enormous selection of some of the best Belgian-made and Belgian-inspired beers.
"With over 25 breweries, many of them international, this is not your typical beer fest," says McFee.
During the event, more than 60 beers will be flowing from local, national, and globally-known brewers. Featured breweries include well-known Belgian brands like Unibroue, Ommegang, Cantillon, St. Somewhere and Orval, as well as lesser known producers Drie Fonteinen, De Struise, St. Feuillien, Tripel Karmeliet, De Dolle, De Ranke, and De La Senne.
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Florida breweries from Tampa to Palm Beach and Broward County — including Barrel of Monks, Funky Buddha, Saltwater Brewery, Odd Breed Wild Ales, Green Bench, and Copperpoint Brewing Co. — will also be sharing their own takes on Belgian-style beers.
VIP ticket holders will have access to specialty beers from that Westvleteren 12 to Cantillon's Fou' Foune (a lambic ale with apricot); Drie Fonteinen's Oude Geuze, a cuvée of Armand & Gaston lambic ale; and Pompano Beach's Odd Breed Wild Ales Stabbing Elbows, a Golden Wild ale with cherries. Find these beers flowing alongside Barrel of Monks own specialty tappings of their Quandrum 2018, a rum barrel-aged quadrupel; Grand Cru 2016, a strong amber ale; Morta, a Cabarnet barrel-aged tripel; and Clotho, an apple brandy barrel-aged tripel.
General admission tickets are being sold online for $65 per person, which includes a festival branded glass with all-you-can-drink pours. One-hour early access VIP tickets are being sold for $100 per person and include all-you-can-drink pours, access to specialty VIP beers, a private room with Belgian-themed food, and a chance to win a special gift pack from Westvleteren XII. For a full tap listing visit the Best of the Belgian Brew Fest website, and for a limited time enter BOTBFLASHSALE at checkout for a $15 discount.
Best of Belgians Brew Fest. South County Civic Center at 16700 Jog Rd., Delray Beach; tickets.beerfests.com.