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Westvleteren Comes To The U.S. (Legally)


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From the dc-beer listserv, via a re-posted Belgian beer link:

World's most coveted beer will be on sale beginning April of 2012

Westvleteren is coming to the U.S.

You read that correctly. For the first (and more than likely) only time in history, Westvleteren beers will be bottled, shipped and legally sold on U.S. soil.

Widely regarded as the maker of some of the most coveted beers in the world, the brewery will ship a limited amount of product to the U.S. in an attempt to raise money for an aging monastery in need of repairs and also planning and expansion.

Daniel Shelton, of Shelton Brothers Importers confirmed that next April, he will be importing 7760 special "gift-pack" units from the Belgium-based brewery and monastery. The packs contain six bottles of beer and two 15cl glasses.

Shelton is still working out the exact details of the deal and could not yet confirm what the suggested retail price of the gift pack will be or which markets will receive the beer. Shelton is based in Belchertown, Mass.

(The retail price in Belgium is EURO 25.00).

Undoubtedly, the gift packs will sell for considerably less than what the "grey market" is offering at this time on auction sites like eBay.

Additionally, Shelton mentioned that Manneken-Brusel Imports out of Austin, TX would also be importing an undisclosed amount of the beer into the U.S market.

All of the proceeds from the packs sold into the U.S. market will help fund the rebuilding and expansion of the Westvleteren monastery. Westvleteren made about 4,500 hectoliters of beer last year (approximately 3,800 U.S. barrels).

Shelton Brothers import beers from approximately 100 different breweries into the U.S. market.

For anybody not in the know, Westvleteren is a trappist brewery that has not been previously available in on the these shores by above-the-table means (I believe it's the only trappist beer with that distinction due to limited production capabilities). It's a bit of a beer geek holy grail. I found a dusty bottle of the 8 at Cairo Liquors several years ago, but had no way of knowing it's provenance other than to know that it was not supposed to be there. It was sadly skunked and may have been years old for all I knew. Glad to see we'll get fresh samples at non-exorbitant prices in the near future.

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Wow! This stuff is the real deal. A friend brought a few bottles back from the brewery, and it's just a damn well-made beer. Belgian is not my favorite style beer; duck is not my favorite type of meat. For me, this stuff does to Belgian beer what Thomas Keller did to duck: it made my brain say, "Wow! So THIS is what it's supposed to taste like! I want moooooorrrrrre..."

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Glad to see we'll get fresh samples at non-exorbitant prices in the near future.

OK, let me retract the "non-exhorbitant" bit: 6-packs available Wednesday 12/12 for $85. Well, you do get special glasses at least, Only one location in Laurel will have it at retail in the DC Metro area. The distributor is licensed in DC, however; I suppose that doesn't preclude it from showing up somewhere (I'm looking at you, ChurchKey).

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