Beating Down the Door for Belgian Brew
A NOTW classic (February 2008): It's the "holy grail" of beers, said a Boston pub manager, but still, only 60,000 cases a year of Westvleteren are brewed because the Belgian Trappist monks with the centuries-old recipe refuse to expand their business (and even take to the phones to harass black-marketers). Westvleteren is sold only at the monastery gate, by appointment, with a two-case-a-month limit, at a price that's reasonable for retail beer, but anyone who gets it from a re-seller will pay 10 times that much. Producing more, said Brother Joris, to a Wall Street Journal reporter in November (2007), "would interfere with our job of being a monk." Furthermore, said Brother Joris, referencing the Bible, "if you can't have it, possibly you do not really need it."