Yesterday’s beer post was all about Westvleteren 12, which has regularly been voted as the world’s best beer. Unlike most other famous Belgian beers, Westvleteren is very hard to get. It is not (legally) sold in shops; only sometimes can you find it at a beer speciality shop, where one bottle costs up to 15 €. There are only two legal ways to buy Westvleteren: At the abbey in Westvleteren, where you have to call ahead to make an appointment (some people report they had to call over 1000 times to get through). Or at the Restaurant next to the abbey: In de Vrede.
At the Restaurant, you can order the three different kinds of Westvleteren beer, and you can also buy limited quantities of whatever is available at the little shop. If you manage to score an appointment to buy beer at the abbey, you will probably still go and buy more at the shop – and in addition have one or two beers at the restaurant. Without an appointment, it’s still worth making the trip: The area is picturesque, you can go for lovely walks – oh, and then there’s that thing about the world’s best beer at the little restaurant …
While the Westvleteren beer is clearly the main attraction at In de Vrede, it would be a shame to overlook the food: They serve delicious sandwiches and croques as well as the original Westvleteren cheese, which of course like the beer is produced at the abbey.
If you need some time to let the beer settle before you drive home, check out their desserts. There is “Hommelpaptaart” (Hop porridge tart), apple pie and a homemade speciality: The Coupe In de Vrede – ice cream with Trappist beer.
In de Vrede, Donkerstraat 13 (St. Sixtus Abbey), Westvleteren // Website