Friday 7 December 2012

Drinking the 'Best' Beer in the Bruges

I have been drinking Belgian beer for twenty years. It was time to visit. My mecca. First stop was Bruges. It was that strange time in between Christmas and New year, so not all the bars were open. We had sampled several of the best bars the night before, including the cosy Café Rose Red where we were staying, dark and atmospheric 't Poatersgat, and wonderfully lively De Garre.
This was the day. The day I was to sample reputably the best beer in the world according to many votes, polls & websites; Westvleteren12. I knew of course that there was a lot of hype about it. About the story of the monks only brewing for certain periods, the small production, and how hard it was to get hold of (especially outside of Belgium) of queues outside the monastery etc etc. This all adds to the mystique. We want to believe in it. So I'd heard that you could get a bottle for only €10 at bustling Bierbrasserie Cambrinus
Bierbrasserie Cambrinus
So what's it taste like? Well first of all I have to say that the beer style of Quadrupel is not my favourite. But it's similar to St. Bernadus 12 and Rochefort Trappist 10. (which are easier to source in the UK.) It's very dark brown, potent, complex, with rich dark fruits and malty caramel. Like a fruit cake in liquid form. Is it over hyped? Of course! But that's all part of it's greatness. We want to believe in the story.
A flushness came over my face, the alcohol had got to my legs. Time for an afternoon nap.
Westvleteren 12
The following days, we went to Brussels and somewhere I'd always wanted to visit, Delirium Café. This was unbelievable, after drinking this specialist beer for so many years, I was surrounded by like minded people in this atmospheric cellar, everybody in there was drinking one of 2400 beers. 
I'd finally come home.
Delirium cafe
Trying to source Trappist Westvleteren 12 in the UK has become a little easier of late. If you enquire at Biercell in Altrincham, he may be able to get a bottle for you.

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