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Jun 16, 2009 09:36 PM

The Great Westvleteren 12 Quest

Yes, like so many before me, I am in search of the elusive Holy Grail of Belgian beers: the fabled Westvleteren 12 -- Beer Advocate's top-rated (A+) brew, and alleged holder of the title "World's Best Beer."

A read through an earlier post on this very topic yielded some helpful suggestions, but alas.. no actual luck in locating bottles of Westvleteren 12.

And so, as I've done so many times before, I turn to you, dearest 'Hounds.

Where, oh where might one find Westvleteren 12's for sale in this great city of ours? Any leads?

Let the Great Westvleteren 12 Quest commence!

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    1. re: small h

      They don't actually have it in stock. Anyone, feel free to correct me, but i am fairly sure that there is not a single place, bar or store, that stocks any of the Westys regularly. While they used to be imported to the U.S. sparingly, a few years ago the brewery changed its rules to largely restrict the ability to acquire the beer. That's not to say it doesn't come into the U.S., but I don't believe it does so in any structured form.

      My best recommendation is to make a profile on, and check out their "trading" section. The people on the site are really into beer and love sharing with others. If you can find something interesting to trade with people, you might be able to score some Westy.

      That being said, I have had the 8 and the 12 (got very, very lucky with a store in Charlottesville, VA - note that the bottles often aren't labeled at all and you can only tell what it is from the cap), and I still like the Rochefort better :) So don't be totally depressed if you have trouble finding it.

      1. re: lnedrive14

        As far as I know this beer is only available to people who come to the monastery in Flanders. It is not distributed or imported in any "official" way. If any bar or store has it, it is because somebody went through the trouble of picking it up from the monks and bringing here themselves. So maybe d.b.a. does get it in by through those channels from time to time.

        1. re: boccalupo

          This is correct, but I wouldn't count on d.b.a. ever actually having any. From what I remember when I've talked to them (drunkenly, so perhaps my memory is wrong) they haven't had it in quite some time.

          1. re: lnedrive14

            i have had them before. but like ten years ago. you used to be able to get them, including the 12, but now you can't. its great belgian beer, but i totally agree with inedrive14, dont cry too hard over not finding it any anymore. there is plenty of great beer out there like rochefort and many others. we're even lucky to have a pretty good local belgian style brewery in the region too (ommegang).

    2. Many thanks to all who replied -- I appreciate your insights into the matter.

      So.. my hopes for securing a bottle or two of Westvleteren now mostly dashed.. what might pass as the "very best" that CAN be found in our fine five boroughs? In other words, what's your take on the "best beer in the world" that's readily available here?

      1. I've managed to track down bottles of Westvleteren 12 twice: once at a Whole Foods in Virginia and again at New Beer Distributors on Chrystie St. here in NY. Neither of those gets, however, were recent.

        As an alternative to Westy, I enjoy picking up bottles of either Rochefort or St. Bernardus -- both relatively easy to find in NY (New Beer Distributors and the Bowery Whole Foods being reliable locations).

        3 Replies
        1. re: big o

          Rochefort and St. Bernardus come in a few different varieties, right? Which do you recommend? I read somewhere that Rochefort's 6 and 10 were good, but to avoid 8. Any truth to that?

          Thanks for your help!

          1. re: sanangel

            They're all worth trying. In fact, if you get lucky and find a store stocking the 6, the 8, and the 10, I'd recommend picking up a bottle of each. Run a little side-by-side comparison and see how they line up for you. Everyone's taste is different, after all (for what it's worth, Rochefort 8 received an A+ rating from the guys who run BeerAdvocate).

            My personal favorite is the St. Bernardus Abt 12.

            1. re: big o

              If it makes you feel any better, I have done a side-by-side Rochefort 10 to Westy 12, and I preferred the Rochefort. While I empthasize with the plight to find the elusive Westy, you can simulate the experience with many of the beers that have been mentioned thus far.

        2. Once found it in Bklyn for $7. Stupid me. Only got one bottle to try. Should have cleared all 5-6 bottles that they had.

          1. There are apparently some bottles at Downtown Bar and Grill in Brooklyn. They are $50 a piece.

   is a great source if you need to find a beer or bar.

            2 Replies
            1. re: slvrmermaidgurl

              Has anyone actually been there? I have to admit I am a bit skeptical that they actually have in stock everything they say they do, but if it is accurate.......WOW

              Although i am pretty sure a 2001 bottle of chmay blue isnt worth $150....

              1. re: lnedrive14

                Yes I went there last week. Rob Tod of Allagash was having a promotion!!! and bought us 2 bottles of the Westvlet 12. Cool guy. It was delicious! I have to warn you, one bottle was better than the other...