We have never talked about Beer


Bigger beers age better. I had a bottle of Westvleteren 12 that a buddy brought me back from when he worked in Paris and drove to the Monastery. Had lost track of it, and then found it years later. It had aged quite well, and was maybe even smoother and more complex than I had remembered from drinking a more fresh one, but of course it might have just been a trick of memory, since the beer is amazing in terms of its complexity and difficult to compare to other beers.

Interesting story about that beer:
To get it, you basically have to call the Monastery, and reserve a case (I think you can get 3 max? and they take your license plate number, so you can only place one order per year). The ordering system is fairly complex, and is run through a single phone line. You call up, and get instructions for ordering. But since it’s a single phone line, it is literally always busy, because everyone in the world wants this beer, and the monks really don’t give a crap about selling it beyond moving what they make just to cover their living costs. So you have massive demand, and finite supply, with no desire to grow the business.

My buddy sits on the phone for days trying to get through. Finally gets through, and it says:
“For french instructions, press 1. For German insrtuctions, press 2. For English instructions, press 3.”

Now, he worked in Paris for a year or so at that point, but his french was still pretty weak, so he presses 3.

“Please try to understand the French instructions. Good bye.” and the system hangs up.

So he’s like, “WTF?!” He then goes back to trying to call… Takes him another day before he gets through, and he gets his wife to help listen to it and parses out what they are saying. Eventually managed to get it, brought me back a few bottles. Still the best beer I ever had.


2 cases (12 beers total), and only every 2 months.

FWIW, Westy had a US sale a couple of years ago where the limit was a small collectible gift pack. They were paying for an extension to the monastery I believe. Due to pre-orders and early folks picking it up, that meant it was gone within a hour of most places that got it. You’ll see some floating around still though.

Then the internet picked up and we now have this insane alternative:

I’ve had Westy once, it was shared with me by another friend. I’m not even sure if that site is legit, but it goes against the principles of what the monastery is trying to do and I’m not supporting it. I’ll pay good money for Cantillon, but not for a Westy, not like that anyway. If I ever go to Belgium, I’ll head to the cafe across from the monastery and have it there.

Back to your story, though. It is insane that something like that has remained so limited and yet so fantastic tasting for so long. They make a fine beer.


It’s just some monks who like making beer.

If you want a beer which is almost identical, St. Bernardus is what you want.

They are the guys who used to brew for St Sixtus, up until 1992 when rules changed and said trappist beers could only be brewed within the walls of a monestary or something.


I love the hell out of St. Bernardus. It’s actually pretty easy to find around my part of the world (Boston, MA and surrounds.) I think my favorite is the prior 8, but I haven’t had a bad beer from them yet.


I bought one of these today: http://kinn.no/en/product/svartekunst/

It has a “best after” date, and can be aged for up to 20 years. We’ll see if it lasts that long.


Rochefort 10 is my jam. I’d take that over Westy 12.


Now that’s pretty cool!


I found a bottle of the rare Troeg’s boubon aged ale Trogenator variety:

It was $13 for one bottle, I hope it’s worth it. I picked up some Mayflower Porter as well which is supposed to be very good.

I will report back soon.


Rochefort 8 for me. Mmmm.


I’m not one to get pricey beers, but I got two special beers. They ran $4 a bottle. Not the peak of what some specialty beers go, but up there for me.


The Lagunitas Imperial Stout is pretty good; I got one as a gift once and it was tasty. Good price too. Most of the Imperial Stouts in that size, at least the ones I like, run upwards of $12-16. The really fancy stuff tops $20 a bottle, though I admit I’ve never actually purchased one of those! But even local IS in 12oz bottles (from Otter Creak, Russian Imperial Stout, very tasty) is over $16 per fourpack.


Slightly off topic since it’s not about specific beers, but this article talking with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History brewing historian (yeah, that’s a job!) is kinda neat.
A bit of modern info in there too:


Had read rave reviews of Cigar City’s Jai Alai, so I made sure to have one while in Florida for the week. It lived up to the hype. Well, it wasn’t that hyped, but I really enjoyed it. Not sure I’d recognize ‘tropical’ hops in a blind test, but it fit into my preference for IPAs that are hoppy but with lots of flavor complexity.

Was a bit surprised to look at the can and see “Brewed by Oskar Blues in North Carolina”, but a web search taught me about Oskar Blues buying Cigar City recently. So all y’all in NC can easily give this a try. It might even make it out my way, as we do get some Oskar Blues products.


Well damn. I’d seen more Cigar City beers but didn’t know why. Makes sense that the distribution change was due to a buyout.


Picked up:

It mostly reminded me that I don’t really care for brown ales. It’s almost a porter, so those who like porters might enjoy it


The styles from red to brown to porter can be blurry. Occasionally you get a really good one though. I love nearly anything from Founders, but that beer description just seems like they wanted a stout/porter, but needed something unique about it so eased up on the roasted malts to keep the color in the brown category. Strangely, it appears that is one of the best rated brown ales. I’ll look for it to try.


Meanwhile brown ales/ porters are my favorite. Stouts have a bit too much of the coffee flavor for me, as I dislike coffee. Sorry Tom!

Speaking of, those two specials I bought?

I did try both of them. The Night Time was somewhere between a brown and a porter, and it was sublime. Nice smooth flavor, with the right mix of malt flavors for me. Surprisingly less bitter than I was expecting. Overall it ranks very highly for me, and would not hesitate to buy another when I feel like splurging.

The Imperial Stout was a stout. A bit lighter on the coffee flavors than some others I’ve had. But it also had a good mix, and was also quite smooth drinking. While I wouldn’t hesitate to try it again, I did enjoy it a bit less than the Night Time ale. For the stout lovers out there, this is one worth seeking out I’d think.

Both were 1 beer and done deals. I was feeling the effects after finishing the bottles. Strong stuff!


I think my most expensive in the store, besides one-off 22oz special releases, has been six packs of Foothills Jade IPA. I love it, but it’s flipping $14.99 a six pack (~ $2.50/each.) $4 a bottle seems like robbery.

But I’ve paid a ton for 22oz bombers at special releases, so I really can’t knock trying beers just to see at the $4 price. Besides, I pay more than that even when drinking at bars/restaurants.


Well these were those 22oz special releases so…


Ohhh, shit I missed that, Craig. In that case, that really isn’t bad at all.