Sunday, March 6, 2011


I've been fortunate enough now to try two of the three fabled TRAPPIST WESTVLETEREN beers due solely to the kindness of others. A couple of years ago I intook a "Westy 12", a.k.a. the purported greatest beer ever to stalk the planet, a.k.a. TRAPPIST WESTVLETEREN 12. And lo, I liked it an awful lot, and bestowed it with a big 9/10. You can get the full report right here. Later that year a few bottles showed up in Concord, CA at fairly decent prices, compared to having to travel to Belgium to find them, but I got lazy or cheap or something and declined the opportunity to drive 15 miles after work to nab some.

So when I got the call from my pals D&H to come over to their place to split a bottle of TRAPPIST WESTVLETEREN 8 you know I was on my wheels and over there at the appointed hour & no later. I reckoned, well, if my favorite beer in the world is TRAPPIST ROCHEFORT 8 (which it is), and that's the "mid-tier", dubbel-style beer out of three from the Rochefort family, perhaps the dubbel-style "Westy 8" will also blow away its more famous, higher-octane brother? Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to report that that's exactly what happened. This beer - the six ounces I was so lucky to savor - is a total mindmelter. It's not just the mysterious and oh-so-tactical lack of a label, nor the extreme lengths taken to get this, nor the fact that I may never drink it again. It's quite frankly the beer itself, which would floor me if it were made by the homebrewer next door.

TRAPPIST WESTVLETEREN 8 pours a dark maroon color, and has a rich, thick fruit flavor right off the bat. It couldn't be more "Belgian" if it tried. Belgian yeasts are all over the beer, and if I had to pick out a set of tastes I'd go with brown sugar, vanilla and apple. Early on in my "beer career" I took to calling the Dubbel-style Trappist ale my favorite beer style of all, but I didn't know what the hell I was talking about. Now that I've had the standard-bearer, perhaps I do. Thanks again to my amazing hosts for cracking one of these open and providing me with half. 10/10.