The ultimate holiday gift for beer enthusiasts just went on sale at Total Wine & More right now, but the price tag might cause some sticker shock.
The Trappist Westvleteren XII Ale gift pack includes six 11.2 oz. bottles of ale and a pair of special chalices in which to drink this elixir, which has been rated 100 points by both BeerAdvocate.com and RateBeer.com. The price for the special pack is $84.99.
Even with that price, Total Wine & More is expecting a complete sell-out by the end of the day and has instituted a one pack per customer policy.
The Westvleteren is brewed in Flanders, Belgium at The Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren, where the 30 Cictercian monks who call the Abbey home brew three kinds of beer: Trappist Westvleteren Blond, Trappist Westvleteren VIII (dark), and Trappist Westvleteren XII (dark).
The Westvleteren XII ale being sold today is the darkest of the three, and is described as "a magnificent combination of malts and dark-fruit Belgian yeast esters, delivering a level of complexity beyond most any other beer."
The monks are part of The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, also called Trappists, and follow the Rule of St. Benedict, which includes a lifestyle of self-sufficiency -- which means the monks live and maintain their monastery by producing goods to sell.
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The beers are normally only sold at the brewery in Belguim by appointment only. However, the monks are partnering with Total Wine to sell this small batch in the United States to raise funds for much-needed repairs and upkeep of their home. As part of the agreement between the monks and Total Wine, these boxed sets cannot be broken up and the bottles cannot be sold individually.
Updated: Short Order called both Miami-area Total Wine & More locations. The Pinecrest store is sold out, but the North Miami location does have some six-packs left.