Westvleteren – special beer

It would of course be wrong to suggest that the highlight of a quick 48 hours in Eindhoven was the bottle (or was it two) of what some would say is the world’s best beer but it was certainly up there in the top five highpoints of the weekend.

The beer came from a Trappist Abbey near the French/ Belgium border and is so exclusive that it is almost impossible to get hold of. I almost wrote “buy” there but it is not supposed to available to be bought unless you are personally invited to go to the Abbey in which case you may be permitted to make an appropriate donation and come away with a small crate of the precious brown liquid.

For reasons that I was not quite able to get to the bottom of Roger’s neighbour had a close enough connection with the good monks who make the beer and was able to secure a supply. For reasons more unaccountable the only safe place in Waarle for these precious beers, the only place maintained at the proper temperature was Roger’s cellar. It was under lock and key for the whole weekend.

Before the locks were put on a few bottles were put in the fridge. There were no labels and all the necessary information was carefully marked with the name of the Abbey, Westvleteren, and the alcohol content. The was a grading in colour to tell the beers apart.

It was beer to be treated with respect. There were a dozen or so flavours that came out of each mouthful and by the time the bottle was finished a faint feeling of floating a few inches up from the chair I was sitting in.

Late on Saturday evening I found myself talking to the same brave neighbours who trusted Roger’s cellar with their beer. They had a key to the cellar and they kindly handed over one of the bottles which is now waiting to be ferried over to England over Christmas.



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