I'm a fan, a really big fan, of wine but my beer knowledge is pretty limited. I tend to categorize beer by color (light brown, medium brown and dark brown) and we named our Newfie Guinness because he was black and stout— that's the sum total of my beer knowledge. So when my friend showed up with the 'best beer in the world', I was suspicious. I did what any good non-beer drinker would do when the 'best beer in the world' was sitting on the kitchen counter, I googled it. Turns out, he was right. According to Huffington Post, 'Westvleteren XII is produced by Trappist monks at the abbey of Saint Sixtus in the Belgian countryside, and only available for purchase through hard-to-get reservations. The beer's sudden appearance in the States is a financial necessity for the abbey -- after a round of expensive renovations, the monks decided to sell the beer outside the monastery for one time only'.
After doing a kitchen renovation a couple of years ago, I completely understand coming in over budget and needing to raise some extra cash. Those Trappist monks are lucky to have some expensive beer ($84.99 for a six-pack and 2 glasses) to feather their newly renovated nest and I was lucky to get a taste of a pretty spectacular beer. Can I say it's the best in the world? I'm not sure what the criteria is for such a lofty title but I can say it was nicely balanced with prominent notes of chocolate, dried fruits, spice and molasses. Maybe the monks will decide to renovate the rest of the Abbey in 2013 and I'll get a chance at honing my beer tasting skills on another bottle of Westvleteren. I'll keep you posted.