Thursday, December 13, 2012

Super-rare Belgian beer bottlenecks Coaltrain

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Perhaps you caught the NPR story Wednesday.

Or the Huffington Post blog or Denver Post blog from earlier Thursday.

Yes: Westvleteren XII, the highly rated and incredibly difficult to obtain Belgian beer, has arrived in the U.S. and in one lucky liquor store in Colorado Springs.

And there will be none for you.

Colorado Springs Westvleteren XII
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The line of the lucky few who arrived at Coaltrain Wine & Spirits early enough to secure a pack of Westvleteren XII, as seen around 3 p.m. Coaltrain planned to make the sales by 7 p.m.

Not that many of you would be willing to pay $85 for six beers with two commemorative tasting glasses.

Even if it supposedly is the best beer in the world and all that.

Coaltrain Wine & Spirits is the aforementioned lucky liquor store, and owner Jim Little says he only received 36 of the special "brick" gift packs.

Little had to tell others who had been lined up since earlier in the day that they simply would not be able to purchase a pack.

Because due to rules dictated by the St. Sixtus' Abbey, Little was not able to split packs to sell by the individual bottles to accommodate more people. He also had to respect the sale price, which is the exact price which he paid for the product.

"We don't make anything at all on it," he says, before acknowledging that all of the media attention is of course a nice byproduct.

In retrospect, Little wishes he'd done a lottery system for the beers to avoid having to make 36 folks camp out in the parking lot all day. Though that may not have sat well with folks who, according to the Denver Post, had driven up from New Mexico.

It's a regret he'll likely not be able to amend in the future, at least with Westvleteren XII, as NPR had reported that the monks won't likely do this again any time soon — they'd just wanted to fund some needed renovations.

Otherwise, the monks' poverty vows kept their interest with getting the beer into the hands of true fans, with a desire to curb the inevitable eBay market where greedy middlemen step in.

The majority of the folks lined up outside of Coaltrain with whom I spoke said they plan to drink, not sell, their beers, though a few said they might drink one or two and sell the remainder.

If you're super-determined to seek out a sip, your best bet is on the secondary market online, where this beer blog sites how more than 50 listings are up on eBay despite its rules that don't allow alcohol sales.

A quick scan reveals some sale prices upwards of $600.

Colorado Springs Westvleteren XII
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Once the line had been cut to those who actually had a chance to buy the beer, Coaltrain guided the Belgian beer fans out of the way of regular shoppers.

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