Westvleteren 12

July 7, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Brouwerij Westvleteren, Country: Belgium, Grade: A plus, Style: Quadrupel.

10.2% ABV bottled

Guys like me don’t have “best moments of our lives.”  At least not the kind of ones stereotyped by Hallmark commercials and romantic comedies.

We’re fuckups hedonistically drifting through life, bypassing and neglecting all the so-called status quo achievements that are supposed to make up an existence.

We don’t get engaged, or god forbid, married because we can’t keep a nice girl on the hook that long.  Naw, we’d rather hubristically keep rolling the dice, trying to get better and better and more and more women, which ultimately just leads to us squandering everything and being drunk and lonely.

We won’t ever buy a nice first house in the suburbs because we’re still renting an urban shoebox at age 30.  How could we possibly afford anything better?  Anything we’d actually own?  We don’t save money.  Good lord no.  We futz it away.  Spend it on stuff that is only tangible from the time it takes to enter our mouth, filter through our system, and come out the other end.  Good food and drink.  And smokes, maybe narcotics.  Wine, women, and song.  And stupid bets.  Always stupid bets.

Raises schmaises.  You got to be kidding me.  How ’bout just having health care for once in your life?  Isn’t it ironic that the people that live the most risky, transgressive, daredevilish lives are also the ones least likely to have health care?  The guy that puts on Haggar wrinkle-free dress slacks and a golf shirt every day to go to his beancounter job, who never over-indulges in anything, never does anything not by the book, yeah, of course he has health care, and a great plan too, but what’s the worst thing that’s gonna happen to him?  Stub his toe at night?  Get a cold from his sneezy secretary?

And let’s not talk about offspring.  Isn’t it funny how for a married, or at least in love, man, impregnating someone (er, his partner), is the absolute greatest moment of his life, never to be topped.  While for a financially unstable single man, that would be far and away the worst moment of his life?

Great moments in life deserve a great beer.  (Did I just make up a new slogan for Coors?!)  And the greatest beer of all is most often considered to be the immortal Westvleteren 12.  (I’ll allow you to do the Google research yourself.) And it is the phenomenally reviewed, very rarest of finds Westvleteren 12, a beer you may only be lucky enough to have a single bottle of in your entire life, that most people tend to save to augment one of the aforementioned great moments of their life.

Kid pops out of your wife’s twat?  Hey, let’s pop the Westy 12.  Just signed the mortage on your first house?  Why open the Westy 12 friendo.  I’m getting a promotion (in name only)?!  Nice.  It’s Westy time!

But I don’t get those great moments.  Perhaps I never will.  How sad.  So what does that leave me with?  What are gonna be the great moments of my life?  When do I get to drink my Westy 12?

Discovering masturbation was an awesome and seminal (rim shot!) moment of my life but I wasn’t exactly into craft beer back around Bar Mitzvah age.  Making a little love to a hot chick is always swell, but most girls want you to talk to them post-coitally, not go, “Uh…could you excuse me while I pay a visit to my beer cellar?  I want to drink a glorious beer to celebrate just having intercourse with the…let’s say 9 out of 10 that you are.”  My favorite sports team wins a title?  I celebrate another birthday having not been killed by gang violence?  A new season of “Mad Men” premieres?  Another STD free year?!  YES!  It’s Westy time!

Eh, I don’t know.  The devil may care, but I ultimately just picked an unassuming Wednesday afternoon and decided to split my sole eleven ounces of Westvleteren 12 with a good beer friend*.  The anticipation was palpable and the beer of course delivered, but first I lost about a solid ounce upon opening as this one was a gusher (something I’m told is typical).  Every dark fruit in the book, raisins, plums, banana esters, caramel, gingerbread, a touch of yeast, and some smooth dry booziness.  Very drinkable, goes down with ease and pleasure.  A true privilege to drink.

There’s not much else to say about it that hasn’t been said before.  Is it the best beer of all-time?  That’s the question that everyone who has never had it always wants to know.  And, the answer is…maybe.  You tell me you think it’s the greatest beer of all-time and I won’t debate that.  It’s one of the best I’ve ever had in fact.  But, surprisingly, in the trappist quad category, I think I like Rochefort 10 a tad better due to its slightly more flavorful sweetness.  Whatever the case, Westvleteren 12 is magnificent, and you need not worry about saving it for a “great” life moment.  Then again, don’t be so cavalier to just chug one straight from the bottle (with a koozie!) while mowing your lawn.  Although that would actually make you pretty awesome in my book.


*Yarmulke-tip to The Captain for hooking me up with this bottle.

9 Responses to “Westvleteren 12”

  1. Aaron says:

    I’ll be enjoying my first Westy tomorrow evening. Sans great moment.

  2. Nice! You doing all of them or just 12?

    I’d like to one day also do a blind of Westy 12, Roch 10, and St. Bernardus 12.

  3. Aaron says:

    I believe all of them. My buddy from Germany has a case at his house. I’ll likely do a video review.

  4. Awesome. That’ll be a great night and I’ll certainly be jealous of your official Westy chalice you will surely use. I hope I can find some Westy 8 to try soon enough as well.

  5. Jay says:

    My thoughts (almost) exactly. I actually do have health care, a wife and all that, but there was no reason to “save” my bottle of Westy 12 for a great moment, considering that I don’t “save” any bottles of Rochefort 8 or whatever either. I knew this would be good, and like you, if someone called it their fave beer of all time, I could not argue (yet in the back of my head I’d still be skeptical – scarcity breeds all sorts of misranking, particularly in our dorkified hobby). Glad you got to try one. My sources tell me their other two are off the hizzle as well.

  6. You semi-inspired me Jay to not sit on the 12 forever. And I’m glad I didn’t. Now I just need to not be so precious with my other “good” bottles.

  7. Tom says:

    Banquet beer.

  8. Dave says:

    I have 2 8’s and 2 2 12’s just sitting at home looking at me. For some reason I just can’t open them yet. What is my problem!?! Help me!!!!

  9. Dave, ultimately I was getting too neurotic about even having the beer in my pad. I was worried there’d be an earthquake or a fire or one of my idiot friends would drunkenly drink it so I thought it was most expedient to get it in my belly as soon as possible. Jay’s right, you wouldn’t sit on a Rochefort waiting for the perfect time, and you probably shouldn’t do the same for Westy. Drink it the next Saturday night you stay in. You won’t be sorry.

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