Westvleteren XII, the Trappist beer brewed by the monks of the Saint Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren, Belgium, is widely regarded as one of the best and rarest beers in the world. It’s a complex, spicy brew with a rich, chestnut brown color and notes of dark fruit and brown sugar. It’s legendary in the beer world for being virtually impossible to come by, so people were stunned to find it for sale in a Dutch supermarket recently. The monks of Saint Sixtus were more surprised than anybody, and they were furious.
According to The Telegraph, the monks produce three beers, and they will not sell the beer to stores. The beers are sold by the glass at a bar across from the monastery, and cases of the beer are available on an extremely limited basis. The monks make only enough beer to pay their expenses, and people who want to buy it in bottles have to call on the phone to order it in advance. Customers who are lucky enough to get through are limited to two cases of 24 bottles each, and they have to pick the crates up in person at the abbey at a specific date.
The beer is extremely difficult to buy, but it is not expensive. A case of 24 bottles sells for between $43 and $54 at the monastery.
Somehow, though, the monks’ beer showed up on the shelves of the Jan Linders grocery chain., where it was selling for $12.55 a bottle.
The monks were furious that their beer was in a grocery store, and that the store was charging such a high price for it.
“A price of almost 10 euro per bottle is contrary to the ethical standards and values where the monks stand for,” an abbey spokesperson said.
Jan Linders said it had managed to acquire 300 cases of the beer, and of course it sold out as soon as people heard about it. The company maintains it did not make any significant profits off the huge markup, because it says it had to pay the many unidentified suppliers who had somehow acquired and delivered the beer that stands in second place on our list of the 50 best beers in the world for 2018.