Trappist monks are not known for seeking the limelight. Rather, they lead austere lives of ora et labora, prayer and work.
But a group of monks from the Abbey of St. Sixtus in Westvleteren, Belgium, brewed up some major publicity earlier this month by releasing their beer in the United States for the first time ever.
Of course, many Trappist abbeys are known for making food and libations, but beer aficionados have labeled the monks’ Westvleteren XII “the best beer in the world.”
Normally, the monks limit the sale of their ale to their abbey in the Belgian countryside, but the need for abbey renovations forced them to branch out and make it available in limited quantities in the United States and other select countries. A brick — a six-pack with two commemorative glasses — sells for $84.99, if you can find any at the limited number of retailers chosen to carry the ale. Most sold out Dec. 12, the day of the release.
But don’t look for the monks to start seeking more attention and more sales in the future. Mark Bode, the monks’ spokesman, told National Public Radio, “They say, ‘We are monks, we don’t want to be too commercial. We needed some money to help us buy the new abbey and that’s it.’”
If you missed out on purchasing the beer, you can try finding a brick on eBay. At presstime, even empty six-packs were for sale.