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Westvleteren 12, the ultra-rare Belgian Trappist ale, finally coming to the LCBO

Westvleteren 12, the ultra-rare Belgian Trappist ale, finally coming to the LCBO

Until recently, bringing home a bottle of Westvleteren 12, brewed by the 29 monks of the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren and consistently ranked among the top beers of the world, was a complex process. First, call the Abbey and make a reservation by phone. Then, having been assigned a date and time, travel to Belgium. Of course, each buyer is strictly limited to a single case every 60 days (they even keep a record of your license plate and phone number), and purchasers must agree not to resell any of the bottles. Thanks to importer Horizon Beers, this is about to change.

While a grey resale market for the beer exists, prices are steep if you’re lucky enough to find any. But following the discovery of structural damage to parts of the foundation of the Abbey, rendering it unsafe to live in, the monks decided to open up sales of their Quadrupel ale for the first, and presumably only, time ever to raise funds for the renovations. Ninety-three thousand gift packs already sold out in Belgium within 48 hours of their release, but another 70,000 are being made available to the rest of the world—including 1,404 to the LCBO. Characterized by a malty aroma and sweet flavour notes of fig, date, caramel, plum, raisin and caramelized sugar (which balance the high alcohol content of 10.2 per cent), these bottles are ideal candidates for long-term cellaring to mellow and smooth out the beer’s complexity. If you can get your hands on a pack, we suggest drinking one now and tucking the others away to age for special occasions. They might be the only bottles of the stuff you’ll ever get. After a long delay, gift packs of six bottles and two goblets are expected to arrive at the LCBO in the next couple of weeks (keep checking their website) and will retail for $75.40. Good luck.

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