A trip to Vleteren – Belgian’s beer paradise and VCBF beer festival

West-Vleteren is a name that rings a bell… a church bell… in the worldwide beer-community. The brewery has three beers, one of which is hailed to be the best beer in the world. So what better place to visit a beer festival, right?

Meet Fons, again!

As you might already know from my trip to the Netherlands, my buddy Fons and I are often on the road trying new beers. So this weekend was no different. At around 1pm, we hopped in my car and drove off into the West-Flemish horizon.

The West-Vleteren abbey aka Abbey of Saint Sixtus

But first things first, you can’t go to Vleteren and not visit the western and most famous part: West-Vleteren. Home of the famous beer. After a short drive through the fields we arrived at the visitor centre. We shared a West-Vleteren 12 and 8, and had a croque monsieur to fill our empty stomachs. After paying (it’s not the cheapest of places) we went to the festival just a few of kilometres away.

Maybe some water is a good idea?

At the festival we had a quick look around and decided to set up our tent before heading in. As usual I forgot to bring bottles of water, so I searched for a shop in the small town of Vleteren. Luckily for me there is a bakery that sells more than just bread. So with cold bottles of water we rehydrated and returned to ‘De Sceure’, the festival domain.

So so much beer!

When we finally arrived at the festival itself, it was already 7pm. So we got to work: 40 brewers and more than 150 different beers. Lucky for us the glasses are only 8ml max, so you don’t get too drunk too quick. But even then, we could not test all beers or even brewers. We decided to skip the Belgian and obvious ones to not waste our time and money.

37 new beers in less than 24 hours

We had to go a second day to be able to try all the beers we wanted. Some were really good, others weren’t. But the most important thing is that we had the chance to try out new and special ones. The Babushka Maria Ay Caramba by Sahtipaja from Sweden with Habanero-peppers, the 17 degrees Zombination from the Struise Brouwers, and the Tiramisu-flavored Tiramistout by Victory Art Brew.

I added a full list of beers at the end of this blogpost.

Back to the Abbey of Saint Sixtus

Fons wanted to try the blond West-Vleteren too and we promised a friend, who couldn’t come with us, to get him some bottles. Oh and also we had an ice-cream, they’re great! But you need to have patience with the staff though.

And that was the end of our beer weekend. A quick stop in Kortrijk for a concert and a walk around and off to Antwerp we went.

The full beerlist

  1. Pink Grapefruit IPA by Brouwerij Kees
  2. Barrel Project: 17.03 by Brouwerij Kees
  3. Braskadi by Laugar Brewery
  4. Camarillo by Mad Brewing
  5. ¡Ay, Carmela! by Cerveses La Pirata
  6. Lupulus Pirãta by Cerveses La Pirata
  7. Guyliner by Proclamation Ale Company
  8. Psychobilly Black by Hoppy People
  9. Babushka Maria Ay Caramba by Sahtipaja
  10. Derivative: Galaxy by Proclamation Ale Company
  11. Wet N’ Wild by Moonlight Meadery
  12. Zombination (2014) by De Struise Brouwers
  13. Imperial IPA by Stigbergets Bryggeri
  14. Amazing Haze by Stigbergets Bryggeri
  15. Tiramistout by Victory Art Brew
  16. Smoked Porter by Victory Art Brew
  17. Scotch Ale Peated Smoke Whisky Barrel by Juguetes Perdidos
  18. Imperial Porter by Juguetes Perdidos
  19. Port Barrel Aged Dark Ale by LETRA
  20. BA Portuguese Grape Ale by LETRA
  21. Rukkivein (Cellar Series) by Põhjala
  22. Odravein 2016 by Põhjala
  23. Wipers Times 16 by Brouwerij Kazematten
  24. St. Bernardus Wit by Brouwerij St. Bernardus
  25. Joost mag het weten! by Het Uiltje
  26. Bird of Prey by Het Uiltje
  27. Derby Ale by Zwarte Aarde
  28. Highland Heavy by Zwarte Aarde
  29. Extra Ordineir by Brouwbaas
  30. Tornado by Brouwbaas
  31. Texas Sunrise by Publius Ale Company
  32. Feats of Strength by Publius Ale Company
  33. Turrican Tripel by Danko Beer
  34. Local Beta 03 Tripel by Danko Beer
  35. HappyFace IPA by HappyFace Beers
  36. Diving Beetle by Viver Brewery
  37. Black Damnation XXIV – Octopussy (2017) by De Struise Brouwers

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2 thoughts on “A trip to Vleteren – Belgian’s beer paradise and VCBF beer festival

  1. Hello Frederic, thank you for visiting our humble little festival. As for the water, there was 4000 litre of free drinking water available on the premises, and when those big cbt’s were empty, we filled them back up again 🙂

    1. I noticed the water after I bought it. Also, the water was mainly for on the camping, since we stayed the night. I always think it’s good to have a bottle next to your sleeping bag. 😉

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