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Rare Belgian beer sold in US for first time at $95 a 6-pack

Westvleteren.jpg

The monks, in need of money to fix a leeky roof, are reluctantly exporting small amounts of the precious beer overseas for the first time.

Even if you are willing to send almost $100 on a six-pack of rare Belgian beer, it may be too late.

Westvleteren 12, a beer brewed by Belgian monks that until Wednesday was only sold at the St. Sixtus Abbey, has been made available at select locations for the first, and possibly last, time.

Westvleteren 12 is a 10.2 percent ABV Belgian Quadrupel is considered to be the best in the world. The Tappist monks have been brewing and selling the same amount of beer since 1945, so Westvleteren 12’s rarity is certainly part of the appeal. 

The beer is being sold in a gift set that comes with six 11.2 ounce bottle and two glasses. Beer enthusiasts shouldn’t drag their feet if they want to get their hands on what some call the best in the world. People started lining up at a Binny’s Beverage Depot in Chicago at 4 a.m. for the store’s 9 a.m. opening on Wednesday, according to Time Out Chicago. Retailers from Delaware to Oregon sold out of their limited supply of Westvleteren hours after it hit the shelves.

While the suggested retail price is $84.99 for the set, the six-pack ended up costing brew connoisseurs in places like San Francisco $92.50 after taxes. An empty gift pack (yes, just the bottles) is going for more than $200 on eBay. As of Friday morning, full six packs were available for about $500 on eBay.

The St. Sixtus Abbey monks reluctantly made the decision to export small amounts of the celebrated beer to help pay for a renovation project on their home that includes fixing a leaky roof. 

Mark Bode, the longtime spokesman for the Westvleteren Brewery, told NPR that the monks were reluctant with their decision to sell the beer overseas.

“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,'" Bode said. "Back to normal again."