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
- Pink Grapefruit IPA by Brouwerij Kees
- Barrel Project: 17.03 by Brouwerij Kees
- Braskadi by Laugar Brewery
- Camarillo by Mad Brewing
- ¡Ay, Carmela! by Cerveses La Pirata
- Lupulus Pirãta by Cerveses La Pirata
- Guyliner by Proclamation Ale Company
- Psychobilly Black by Hoppy People
- Babushka Maria Ay Caramba by Sahtipaja
- Derivative: Galaxy by Proclamation Ale Company
- Wet N’ Wild by Moonlight Meadery
- Zombination (2014) by De Struise Brouwers
- Imperial IPA by Stigbergets Bryggeri
- Amazing Haze by Stigbergets Bryggeri
- Tiramistout by Victory Art Brew
- Smoked Porter by Victory Art Brew
- Scotch Ale Peated Smoke Whisky Barrel by Juguetes Perdidos
- Imperial Porter by Juguetes Perdidos
- Port Barrel Aged Dark Ale by LETRA
- BA Portuguese Grape Ale by LETRA
- Rukkivein (Cellar Series) by Põhjala
- Odravein 2016 by Põhjala
- Wipers Times 16 by Brouwerij Kazematten
- St. Bernardus Wit by Brouwerij St. Bernardus
- Joost mag het weten! by Het Uiltje
- Bird of Prey by Het Uiltje
- Derby Ale by Zwarte Aarde
- Highland Heavy by Zwarte Aarde
- Extra Ordineir by Brouwbaas
- Tornado by Brouwbaas
- Texas Sunrise by Publius Ale Company
- Feats of Strength by Publius Ale Company
- Turrican Tripel by Danko Beer
- Local Beta 03 Tripel by Danko Beer
- HappyFace IPA by HappyFace Beers
- Diving Beetle by Viver Brewery
- Black Damnation XXIV – Octopussy (2017) by De Struise Brouwers