I have long wanted to get my hands on a Trappist Westvleteren beer. Westvleteren, located in West Flanders Belgium, is the smallest and most secretive of the Trappist brewers. Not only is their beer itself scarce because of the small production, but anyone wishing to purchase beer can only buy it in limited amounts, and even then, only from the monks themselves. They sell only to individual customers who agree not to resell the beer. People have been caught and prosecuted for doing so.
I’ve long had my eye on this beer, and long worried that I’d never see it, let alone have a chance to drink it. But I have great friends, and through them my proverbial ship came in this past Christmas. Impossibly huge thanks goes out to Kevin & Cath!
I stress at this time that this beer was a gift. I didn’t buy it or sell it. I did, however, share it.
The first thing to note is the bottle. Simple. Brown. No label. The only identification is the cap.
The beer pours nicely, with beautiful colour. It’s fairly cloudy. The first big surprise was the smell. As is often the case with good beer and especially Trappist beer, the smell and the taste don’t always match up. I smelled fruit, predominantly cherry, and spice.
Tasting Westvleteren 8 was an absolute pleasure. It was so well balanced. The cherry and spice that I smelled came through, but I also picked up hints of caramel and toasted malt. There was certainly more, but I’ll admit that in the face of the Westvleteren 8 my palette is probably out of it’s depth. This beer drinks a bit sweet, but finishes dry.
I’m not sure when I’ll have my hands on another bottle of this rare and incredible beer, but you can bet that some time in the future I will drink Westvleteren 8 again. Even if it means hunting for seat sales.