Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to Get Westvleteren, the Holy Way.

This is for all you do-gooders out there who want to do it the monks' way. I raise my chalice to you.

1. Plan a trip to Belgium. You know you want to anyway. Rent a car so you can roam at will.

2. Call 070 21 00 45 (or +32 70 21 00 45 if you're outside Belgium when you call). Listen and find out when you can call back to get which type of beer.

3. Have your car's license plate number handy, and call again at reservation time. It will be busy. Perfect the art of quickly hanging up (or hitting the "flash" button) and hitting redial. If you're quick enough and do it for long enough, you will get through. Set aside some time, be patient, and remember the great beer that lies at the end of your quest. For the record: It's never taken me longer than 45 minutes to get through. Sometimes it's only 5 or 10 minutes.

4. When you get through, make your appointment. Don't worry, he speaks English. Tell him your license plate number and how much beer you want.

5. Courteously show up on time. In fact, be an hour early so you can enjoy one in the café across the street before you pick up your booty. Then go over and fulfill your quest. The 12 will run you €33 per case. That works out to a very reasonable €1.375 per bottle--about one-tenth of what those suckers are paying on eBay. Go on, buy a set of glasses while you're at it. They make nice gifts.

6. Take the treasure home, or ship it. Later, stop to admire the beautiful sight: multiple cases of the elusive Westvleteren, just sitting there. In your cellar.

7. Drink one. You earned it. And the brothers approve.


  1. Excellent advice. But what if you're on a bicycle? Do the monks really want more people to drive cars? Have they even heard of Critical Mass?

    1. Critical Mass? The biggest group of assholes on the planet? I'm all for the environment, but those guys make other liberals and environmentally conscious people look bad, by a) causing traffic, counter productive to our cause, and b) assault innocent people. Someone I know was once driving in San Francisco with his wife and kids, they came up around him, surrounded his car passing him by, inches away, he hit a rock in the road, the car was forced a few inches to the left and knocked one of them over. They, enraged at something they could have avoided by, I don't know, being more conscious of a moving vehicle near them, decided to throw their bikes at his car, causing thousands of dollars in body damage, and emotional grief to his entire family. Those guys are assholes.

    2. That said, I think they should a) ship their beers, and b) not require a car (maybe they don't, I don't know).

  2. Dude, all you need is a Wike.

    Sure you could put a few cases of the 12 in one o' them there thangs.

  3. Sorry, this is what I mean by a Wike:

  4. Thanks for the guide. How far in advance do you need to plan the reservation?

  5. You can call that number anytime to get an idea of what you'll hear. But for planning purposes there's no point in calling any more than two or three weeks in advance. They never seem to announce when beers will be available any sooner than that.

    For example, I just now called the line to see what's available... From Monday until today they have been taking reservations to pick up the 12, limit of two cases per car. (And these reservations will probably fill the next two weeks.)

    That's it. Anything beyond that, they say "please wait until future notice."