Beer Beer Beer

Westvleteren XII: On Sale Today for $85 a Six-Pack

It's no secret: obsession with beer is on the rise. Microbrews, German lagers, Belgian Ales, whatever. Even corporate restaurants have jumped on the specialty beer bandwagon--CPK being one. The one drawback: the price.

However, one Belgian brew takes the cake in terms of demand and cost. Today, Westvleteren XII will be stocked on Florida shelves for 85 bucks a six-pack. As a consolation, that does include two glasses. Why is that a big deal? Read on after the jump.

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Clean Plate Charlie spoke to Mike Mendez, Merchandising Supervisor of Total Wine & More in Fort Lauderdale to find out what the hype is all about, "It's just really hard to get. Normally, you can only get it at the brewery, and you have to make an appointment to pick it up."

The beer, which has consistently been rated as one of the best in the world, will be sold on US shelves for the first time ever. News about US distribution broke a year ago, but tomorrow the beer geek's ultimate dream will become a reality. Total Wine & More will be the only retailer in Florida to carry this highly elusive beer.

Westvletern XII is brewed in western end of Belgium at St. Sixtus Abbey. Founded in 1838, the Trappist Westvleteren Brewery has been operated by monks in the abbey ever since. While the monks at St. Sixtus produce three beers, the most famous--and evasive--is the highly coveted Westvletern XII, which has been in production since 1940.

According to Mendez, "There was a fire in the brewery last year and the beer is now being sent over to contribute to rebuilding it. None of the retailers are making any money off of the sales of the beer; all of the money is being donated back to the monastery. As far as I know, this is the only time the beer will be sold in the states." As of the time of publication, Clean Plate Charlie was unable to confirm that the necessary repairs were the result of a fire.

There are only eight Trappist breweries in the world--six in Belgium, one in the Netherlands, and one in Austria--all of which are run by Trappist monasteries: hence the designation. The International Trappist Association monitors the breweries to make sure the beers are brewed on premise and they are not made for the purposes of turning a profit: the beer must be of secondary importance to the monasteries' charitable work.

Trappist beers are always made with Belgian hops and a specific strain of Belgian yeast, which gives the beer its characteristic sweetness and spicy notes.

If you're interested in trying the beer out, it will be available at Total Wine & More when doors open at 8 am. It will be sold on a first come, first serve basis, limited to one pack per customer.

We would suggest a pair of running shoes. And, maybe, a baseball bat.

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Sara Ventiera