What Does it Take to Brew the Best Beer in the World?February 7, 2012 | No comments
In the western corner of Belgium, the St. Sixtus Abbey is home to more than 30 Cistercian or Trappist monks. Each monk leads a quiet and modest life of seclusion, prayer and manual labor. When you see photos of the Abbey, some would think this labor includes tending the beautiful ample grounds or cleaning the living quarters. When in fact, these crafty monks are brewing three of the the world’s finest beers.
The Westvleteren 12 is a strong, dark beer with a 12% alcohol content and is consistently ranked one of the top 5 beers in the world. The monks also make Westvleteren 8, a dark beer with 8% alcohol content and Westvleteren Blond with 6%.
Monks from the Abbey have been making beer since 1836 and passing the tradition from monk to monk over the ages. Of the 72 brewing days throughout the year, the brewery produces only 500,000 cases of beer and only 160,000 cases of Westvleteren 12 (small production for the No. 1 beer in the world). The small production and the fact that they do not work with distributors makes the beer fairly rare.
The brewery does not hire additional workers or raise prices and never intents to take away from what it has always been – an united part of the monks’ lives.