Trappist monks from the Catsberg monastery, located in France, founded the St Sixtus monastery in 1831. In 1838, the brewing at Westvleteren commenced. In 1850, some of the monks founded the Notre-Dame de Scourmont monastery, better known as Chimay. During World Wars I and II, the Westvleteren brewery continued to operate, albeit at a lower capacity. It was the only Trappist brewery to retain their original copper vessels throughout the wars - the other breweries had the copper salvaged by the Germans for their war efforts.
In 1946, the St. Bernardus brewery in nearby Watou was granted a licence to brew beer under the St Sixtus name. In 1992 this agreement ended; St. Bernardus still brews beers of similar styles, but under their own name. In 1989 the abbey opened its new brewery to replace the older equipment. The brewery currently employs three secular workers for various manual labour tasks, however the primary brewing is done by the monks only.
Affectionately referred to as "Westy" by beer lovers near and far, Westvleteren has gained the reputation of being some of the best and rarest beers in the world. The legendary Westvleteren 12 has remained untouched in the number one spot on a fellow beer website's, "Top Beers on Planet Earth" for several years.
The Westvleteren "Trappist" is sold exclusively at the abbey store, and only after having made a reservation by telephone (+32 (0)70/21.00.45).
Our beer is sold in limited quantities and the reservations which we accept are always for a particular type of beer. Since we want to serve as many customers as possible, orders are limited to one order per car per per telephone number within any given month. Anonymous numbers cannot be used. You yourself must be the consumer. The receipt stipulates that the beer is not to be sold commercially to a third party. We reserve the right to prosecute offenses.
With the exception of our Blond beer, Trappist beer will keep for years: give the beer time and it will continue to ripen. Store the bottles vertically in a dark place between 12° and 16° C. It is better not to refrigerate Trappist 8 and Trappist 12; Trappist Blond, on the other hand, is best served cooled.