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World’s best beer at your door: Westvleteren launches home delivery
The monks at the Saint-Sixtus Abbey in Vleteren, West Flanders, have launched a delivery pilot project. This means that their famous Westvleteren beer, while endlessly difficult to order, can at least arrive with no additional effort from consumers.
As you probably already know, the Trappist monks at Saint-Sixtus produce three beers – blonde, the amber 8 and the dark, caramelly 12. The 12 has long been considered the best beer in the world.
The beers have always been notoriously hard to get as the monks, dedicated to not making a profit, produce limited supplies. While bars and shops occasionally gouge customers for contraband bottles of Westvleteren beer, it’s officially only allowed to buy it direct from the monks, or from the brasserie and shop next door – where supplies are not guaranteed.
Customers must go through a specific process to order online, entering a ‘virtual waiting room’ only open twice a month. The system also gives priority to new buyers, so those addicted to Westvleteren get pushed down the list.
While none of that will change, there is a revolution afoot: The monks will deliver the beer to your address in Belgium. Previously, buyers had to make the trip to the monastery in Vleteren, on the far side of West Flanders, to pick up their crates of beer. It’s a two-hour drive from Brussels.
24 bottles of 12
“About half of our Belgian customers live in West and East Flanders,” brother Godfried told VRT. “The other customers in Belgium have to travel quite far to pick up their beer. We want to make it easier to reach them.”
So now once you’re done with the tedious ordering process, you can just sit back and wait. You won’t get the famous wooden crate in which the 24 beers normally stand, but you will get a sturdy cardboard crate based on the original. Home deliveries are limited to one crate and to the 12 brew.
And it costs more: €69.70 (including delivery) as opposed to the €46.40 if you pick it up. You will not have to pay, however, the deposit for the wooden crate, which is normally €12.60.
The beer is delivered by a courier (not Bpost, so no worries) in about a week. Customers can follow the delivery of their order online. It’s unclear what might happen to it if you’re not home, so we at The Bulletin – having a little experience with the ordering of Westvleteren – suggest you be home when the crate arrives.
The move could be temporary: The monks have been affected by the coronavirus as much as everyone else, and sales are down. In any case, only 650 crates a month will be delivered. Customers have one day a month to order it online, but – rather unfortunately – the news of home delivery broke the day after that order date. So you’ll have to keep your eye on the monks’ order and delivery schedule for your next chance.
Photo courtesy Saint-Sixtus