Today, some assholes, wanting to push their overpriced Trappist Westvleteren 12 website, fooled me –along with a couple of other beer editors– into publishing news that this much sought after beer, brewed by the Saint Sixtus monks in Belgium, was legitimately available online for the first time. It turns out the link provided was to a reseller of the beer and that there was no official announcement from from the monks.
But, since you are here–if you haven’t heard of Westvleteren, please read up on the brewery and accept my apologies for publishing in haste. Here is a link to the beer’s availability at the actual brewery.
The Westvleteren Brewery was founded in 1838 at the Saint Sixtus Abbey by Trappist monks. The monks travelled from the French Catsberg monastery in 1831 and upon founding the new Sixtus Abbey they commenced the brewing of beer seven years later. The brewing continued through both world wars, however it was the only Trappist brewery that managed to retain the copper drinking vessels from the Germans, who took the copper from the others to use in the wars. In part, this was down to the fact that the monks of Saint Sixtus offered care for allied troops rather than German soldiers in World War II. The Westvleteren beer was not available for sale and was only consumed by visitors to the abbey.
Many years later in 1931, the Trappist monks allowed the Westvleteren beer to be sold to the public, and so anybody could buy Westvleteren beer. Fifteen years later, a licence was granted to St Bernardus Brewery to brew beer under the Saint Sixtus name. In 1992, this licence expired however the brewery still brew similar types of beer using their own trade name. That was also the year that the abbey had a new brewery opened to update the brewing equipment.
Today, the brewery has three labourers at work but the majority of the brewing tasks are done by the 26 Trappist monks. It is the only remaining brewery where Trappist monks still do the brewing of the beer.