Thursday, January 17, 2008


If you've never made a trip to Beer Mecca, also known as the St. Sixtus Abbey, you might want to read this WALL STREET JOURNAL article in a previous STUDS post to see what all the fuss is about. I think there are actually guys who would leave their wife for this stuff. I had no luck getting through on the "beer phone" to get an appointment to pick up beer for myself, but Joe got lucky and got through on his third attempt, and made an appointment.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of riding along with Joe Stang our own Studs Belgian Beer guru, and John Montgomery to pick up Joe's monthly stash of Westvleteren, or "Westy" as it is affectionally called by Joe. The Abby is right outside Ypres in the middle of nowhere. We first stopped for lunch at The Trumpet, right next to the Cathedral and tried, Ypra, the local brew. It's hard to track down except in some souvenir shops and bars in Ypres. Very much in the style of an abbey Tripel, it also reflects the hop character of beers from this region.

Thank God for GPS, we arrive on Beer Street

Arriving at the Abbey, like I said, in the middle of nowhere, on a road that was about as wide as my driveway. We had to pull off into the grass to let a couple tractors squeeze by.

The first site you see, is the line of cars wound through the trees to pick up their beer. Although it took about forty minutes for us to get our beer, I'm told before there were appointments, the line snaked back for a mile along this thin little road.

We get to the front, and unload the empties. The look on these peoples faces picking up their beer reminds me of a kid on Christmas morning!

Joe gets his that the look of true love? He did sell John and I both a sixpack, as hard as that was.
To our disappointment the Abbey cafe was closed for the month of January so we weren't able to go in and try a cold one right away.

We took the scenic route back to Brussels and slid down to Wallonia to a small brewery called Brasserie Ellezelloise that is located down a farm road in Ellezelles for a beer tasting. I didn't know that my mother-in-law endorsed this beer, as she is pictured on the label.

To end our day in typical Belgian fashion we arrive at the brewery to a sign that says "closed on Wednesday". This initiated a trip to the local pub where we sampled the brew, and found a local store that sold us a boxed little five pak.

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