Six days from now, On Wednesday, December 12th, the Shelton Brothers will release one of the most sought-after beers, Westvletern XII, to the United States market. This beer was formerly only available for purchase in cases at the brewery, in Vleteren, Belgium, but the Trappist monastery, the Abbey of Saint Sixtus, that brews it needs some repairs. Releasing the beer in the US will raise funds to that end (but no tax deduction for you). The US edition of Westvletern XII will be in a 6-pack with two glasses, called a brick, for the princely sum of $84.99. There will be 7760 bricks for sale in the United States.
There is, however, an additional catch: this difficult-to-obtain beer will remain so in the DMV. Shelton Brothers never registered the brand in Virginia, thus it will not be for sale there. Furthermore, though the Shelton Brothers distribute in Washington, DC, none will be for sale in the District. That leaves Maryland. Total Wine in Laurel, MD is the only place selling Westvletern XII in the DC metro area. Yes, you read that right: only one store within fifty miles of the District is selling this beer. Good luck. If you’re travelling, here are nation-wide retail locations.
Since you won’t be getting any Westy 12, we at DCBeer have assembled a list of locally available beers that are the same style, quadruple, or quads as they’re somewhat commonly known.
Two other Trappist monasteries make quads: Chimay and Rochefort. Chimay Grande Reserve, though often called Blue because of the bottle, is perhaps the easiest to find, but Rochefort 10 is widely available in DC and is, in our humble opinion, the better beer.
However, the beer that is most similar to Westvletern XII does not come from a Trappist monastery, but rather a former abbey in Watou, Belgium. Indeed, many people, including yours truly, think that the St. Bernardus 12 is every bit the equal of Westvletern. It is available at many bars, restaurants, and stores in the DC area.
US brewers have also tried their hand at this style, often with excellent results. Ommegang’s Three Philosophers is aged with cherries, an interesting take on the style. Further south, Weyerbacher’s quad also received praise from our staff, and closer to home, DC’s own Bluejacket has collaborated with The Bruery on a plum-scented quad called Washington O.C. It’s on tap at Churchkey right now.
Will you be waiting in line at Total Wine, Laurel next Wednesday morning? Can this beer possibly live up to the hype surrounding its US release? In at least one blind tasting of quads, Westvletern XII didn't fare well, and there is some evidence from the world of wine that external factors can affect taste. Have a favorite quad we didn’t mention? We took to our favorite form of social media for your thoughts. Please tell us more in the comments.
* Image above via Beerpulse.