Touted as the “world’s best beer,” the famed Westvleteren 12 brewed by Trappist monks at St. Sixtus Abbey in Belgium is now on sale in the U.S., although you’d be hard pressed to find any on store shelves. The beer is only available at select retailers, which means that if you’re in Montana you’d have to drive to Portland, Ore., or Denver. The beer is priced at around $85 for a six pack at some stores and the limited supply is going fast.
The monks are looking to raise money to pay for a new roof, which is why they decided to export some of the famed beer to the states.
Any beer that receives the label of the “world’s best” definitely piques my interest. It comes in at about 12 percent ABV and tastes like “dates, raisins and cocoa,” according to Rate Beer.
If you’re lucky enough find some, enjoy!
- Matt Pritchard
Read this Beernews.org article highlighting the sale of rare beers on eBay and just what some others think of the practice.
Would you buy Westvleteren 12 on eBay at higher than equillibrium prices?
I’ve seen bottles of the coveted Westvleteren 12 go for upwards of $45 a piece, and I’ve asked more than one friend to bring me back a bottle of what many consider to be the world’s finest beer.
According to Beernews.com, there may or may not be an agreement in place to be able to order these impossible-to-find beers on eBay.
However, details are murky, so check out the post at www.beernews.org, and get your trigger finger ready for the next possible allotment of Westy beer.
This is a great review of some of the most popular and easy-to-find Belgian beer styles today, as well as some not-so-easy to find.
There are few things more enjoyable than the warm sense of camaraderie in the hours after a sporting event in which the outcome favors your team. The high-fives and back slaps give way to finding a warm, comfortable place to relive the game over a pint of beer, and you look around for anyone nearby who might want to celebrate with you today.
That’s how I felt today. No, the Ducks didn’t play today, but since I’m living in Missoula, Montana now, the local sports heroes become yours by default. And so I watched the undefeated Griz (they have not lost a game since I moved to Montana two-years-ago) come back from a 41-14 deficit to beat the South Dakota Jack Rabbits 61-48.
Suddenly, I felt like being around other people and celebrating the 98-yard touchdowns on kickoff returns and the brave goal-line defenses. Unfortunately, I was right in the middle of putting up Christmas lights, and a trip into town just wasn’t going to work. So the wife and I took off for a quick little sip and some of that camaraderie at Big Sky Brewing Co., which is by our house.
Whispers of: “Did you see that game?” and “How ’bout Mariani?” filled the taproom as we ordered our tasters.
Most of you know that Big Sky does a phenomenal Belgian, especially in their Belgian Tripel, but I’ll bet not a lot of you know about Big Sky’s Belgian Brown Ale.
Big and brown with a sweet malt back and just a hint of hops, this beer, as are other Belgian beers, is characterized by its yeasty aroma and fruity flavors. Darker and less tropical than the tripel, this dubbel has some dark fruits like black cherry on its nose, and the body comes across with some brighter, more floral notes like apple and pineapple fruit leathers.
Belgian brown ales are some of the best beers to cook with, while they also make excellent sippers. Generally perceived as heavier than tripels, dubbels might go unnoticed in the world of beer if it weren’t for their yeasty breadiness that really creates a fascinating beer experience when paired with food.
Generally, I like Belgian browns paired with dark roasted dishes. Big Sky’s Belgian brown is awesome with wild-game dishes and roasted root veggies among other pairings.
Get some while you can, it’s currently on tap down at the taproom.
Though it’s many thousands of miles away, Mikeller Brewery in Denmark might just be one of my favorite craft breweries anywhere. This is not a light statement either. There are many factors that surround this. For one, Mikkeller pays tribute to the adventurous American breweries who are not afraid of taste and exploration in brewing techniques and styles. Mikkeller would like to emulate that in Denmark, where light lagers dominate the market. Another reason is that Mikkeller is not afraid of collaboration with other European breweries to create fascinating Old/New World combinations like single-hop beers with the addition of brettamyoces. (a yeast strain that produces a prominent smell characteristic in many Belgian and French beer varieties. Yet another reason is that one of the original founders of Mikkeller, Kristian Klarup Keller, is a journalist, and, well, you all know how I feel about journalists, especially journalists who like good craft beer.
Recently, someone opened a bottle of Mikkeller’s Struise Mikeller, (Elliot Beer) a strong-hopped Northwest-style IPA with a Struise strong blond. But then again, everyone gets a long with blonds, don’t they? The marriage of these two beers is interesting. I’ll withhold any judgement as to this being the best in the style I’ve ever had, because I’ve never had the style before. But the fact that the two breweries collaborated on something this unique is extraordinary, and it’s here that the U.S. breweries could learn a lesson. Yes, your bottom line beers are important, to your bottom line no less. But what is driving the popularity of craft beer is the innovative styles unique to various communities that are becoming more readily available elsewhere. I remember when I had my first Mikkeller here in Missoula. I was astounded that a Scandinavian craft brewery could produce such wonderful U.S. craft styles. Then out of nowhere, they explode to become Rate Beer’s 5th highest-ranking brewery in the world.
It goes to show you the value of playing well with others and brewing as an art instead of a business science. Those of us who love craft beer will love you all the more for your willingness to be inventive rather than your ability to put a fairly standard IPA, brown ale or stout on the shelves of the local grocery store throughout the year. When Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout sells out in places like Seattle and other western cities, it brings so much more attention to the brewery for the fact that the beer is limited.
Many limited beers are now becoming full-fledged production beers, which opens many more people up to trying different styles, which then creates demands for new beers, which increases creative interest at breweries, and the whole thing is just a big, vicious circle of craft-beer loveliness.
The two lives of Michael Jackson.
One was a freak of nature, a tour de force of child-like love of simple things. And one was a wild-haired creature of mirth and merriment with a penchant for blondes. I’ll let you decide which is which.
I loved how whenever I mentioned the renowned beer guru Michael Jackson, people inevitably blinked and asked when the gloved one began writing about craft beer. “Oh,” I’d tell them, “It was right after he did that Pepsi commercial that burned up his hair real bad.” “Oh,” they’d say and smile and take another sip.
Michael Jackson the pop singer died yesterday at the age of 50. Michael Jackson, the journalist and beer writer, passed away in August of 2007. It seems both died from heart attacks.
And though I’ve never heard a negative word about Michael Jackson, the writer, much has been said about Michael Jackson, the singer, songwriter and dancer. But each contributed something lasting and worthwhile, no matter the outcomes of their individual lives.
That’s why I gotta make a toast to the two Michael Jacksons, their respective legacies and their work to make the name Michael Jackson a household name. At least the gloved one became a household name. The other Michael Jackson found his way into the hearts of millions of craft brew lovers.
What would I drink to a musical and dance artist and a beer and whiskey writer who shaped public sentiment toward quality craft beers?
Why a Michael Jackson Malheur of course. Aside from the name meaning misfortune in French, the beer is a perfect send off in many other ways.
For every wound, a balm.
For every sorrow, cheer.
For every storm, a calm.
For every thirst, a beer.
Finally, a sessionable sour ale from Belgian. I think I found this at The Good Food Store a few weeks ago, and I’m really glad I did. I only hope I can get more now that I’ve actually gotten around to tasting it.
Many Belgian imports are dumbed-down versions of their REAL sour beers, and many of the REAL sour beers are REAL expensive or REALLY high in alcohol or both.
But pucker up if you’re not a sour beer fan. This one packs a punch, and it’s awesome if you’re a fan. After having some friends try it, I realized it’s definitely not for all tastes.
Ciao for now,
I’m up in Havre covering the Anthony St. Dennis murder trial. They moved the trial to the Hi-Line because of all the media attention in Missoula.
Nevertheless, Havre doesn’t really have a great beer selection. I was relegated to drinking Kokanees last night, which, besides tasting of sweet corn, are not that bad when you’re exhausted.
But if you really want to celebrate a hard day covering a murder trial, which means hours and hours on your butt in a horribly uncomfortable courtroom chair, I recommend Dupont’s Avec Les Bons Voeux. If you can get your hands on this beer, I’ve seen it in Seattle, Portland, Denver and several East Coast shops, it’s well worth the $10.99 asking price.
Anyway, if find yourself working 12-hour days listening to testimony in a murder trial, you’ll want to find yourself a bottle of Dupont.
The first meeting of the Missoula Beer Appreciation Society is tomorrow evening. The weather will be frightful, so what’s better to do than go somewhere and drink good beer with other people who like good beer.
Here’s what MBAS founder Mike Saxton has to say about it:
Come one come all, to the first meeting of the MBAS – Missoula Beer Appreciation Society, at BeerTrips Local #1′s new home base, Cafe Dolce, with its fine, and sure to be growing, beer list. We will gather informally to drink Chimay beer along with cheese and salami served in the style of a Belgian Cafe. Pay as you go, and discover this fine Trappist Ale from Belgium and meet other Missoula Beer appreciators.
Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Cafe Dolce 500 Brooks St. Missoula, MT