Week Fifty-eight

Unscheduled roadtrips with children can often be stressful and better be worth it. Luckily this one was. The kids are home all week from school because it is the Carnival holiday break.
(jump to relevant next point)

Westvleteren 12 is known as the best beer IN THE WORLD. It is not thought of as a “really good beer”, “best Trappist beer” or “best Belgian beer”, no, it has the WORLD title for all beers.
It is made at the Abbey Saint Sixtus by Trappist Monks. (making it one those Trappist beers I keep going on about, my check list is getting smaller!)
However, it is not easy to get. Not only do they not sell it in bars (Jason corrected me that there is like a bar or two somewhere that sells it, but it is supposed to be illegal off the premises), liquor stores or grocery stores but you also have to go through a “process” to get your hands on some.
First, you have to go to the website for the Abbey.
Then, you have to examine their online form which tells you between what hours you must call between and on which certain day.
Then, you have to call on that day, at that time.
But, there is only one incoming line so you will get busy signals, over and over. I called a number of 42 times in a 30 minute period before I got through.
Finally, once you get through you must give your license plate number and they will assign you a time to come pick up the beer. If that is a bad time for you, no beer for you.
To top it off, once you are assigned a time and date to get your beer, you are limited to 2 cases maximum and you are not allowed to get any more for 60 days.

I called, I got through, I got assigned a time early in the morning on a weekday.  So, while Jason was at work, I had to wake the kids up early, pack them in the car, drive them two hours at freezing temperatures, all to obtain the best beer in the world.  Luckily cousin Stacy is in town and she got to experience this with us.  A quest!
map
That’s a long drive. (you can see Paris and London as reference points)

bridge
So we trekked through traffic & tunnels

windmill
Past countryside

artichokes
Through fields (these will be artichokes)

saintsixtus
Until we finally made it

abbey
And although the abbey was right in front of us, I couldn’t figure out where to go. At first a nice little monk in a monk outfit fabulous ensemble (better Dom?) ushered me in through a special gate. I immediately could tell this was not correct and he helped direct us where to go.

carline
We found the car line and were only 5 minutes late for our scheduled morning pick up time. For those of you that have young children, you know what an accomplishment this was!
We got in line and they loaded up the back of my car. We pulled forward to pay and they took down my information so I’m banned for 60 days.

cardoor
yah, just go ahead and throw all that in the back, if you don’t mind.

If it wouldn’t have been -2.0/-1.0 Celsius I would have hung around the abbey and taken more pictures but no. it was cold. I ran in through a back door, snapped a picture for memory sakes and ran back into the heated car.

madonnaandchild
Quick pick from inside the Pilgrim’s Chapel

brugeshorses
After leaving Westvletern we drove an hour east-northeast to Bruges where we dropped Stacy off for her day trip. Then back down to Brussels to arrive home exhausted and just in time for naptime.

Beercrates
Success! That is what 102 Euro worth of the best beer in the world looks like.

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5 Responses to Week Fifty-eight

  1. Karen says:

    If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is. So, ow that you have had a chance to sample, IS IT THE BEST BEER IN THE WORLD???

  2. Lacey says:

    Awesome.

  3. Inge Van Coppenolle says:

    Seriously, this is the BEST beer ever .. the monks don’t want marketing etc but they certainly have found a very smart way to get everyone to want their beer 😉 My father – who is retired – has the pleasure of calling in time after time and then finally, go get his 2 crates .. in time for when we visit over the summer or x-mas. It’s a pitty the weather was not good as it is a very nice area for a stroll. Over weekends, they also have a pub across the street who sell the Westvleteren, that is, if it still exists. Enjoy ! Inge

  4. kdcarver says:

    I would SO have been your copilot on that adventure!!!!

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