That’s right: the best.
One could extoll the myriad problems that make defining a single beer as the best impossible: style, history, nostalgia, personal bias and so forth. But the beer that sits at the top of an open-access, global beer rating site must have a strong declaration for the crown.
Westvleteren 12 is a grey market beer: no wholesalers or bars are supplied. If there is stock, visitors to the Sint-Sixtus Abbey can enjoy up to two bottles per person if it is open, so not on a Thursday. Or Friday. Or the first half of January. Or Christmas. If you want bulk quantities, it is possible to procure a crate of 24 bottles, for the handsome sum of €39. All you need to do is wait for hours, possibly days to get through to an operative on the single ‘beer phone‘. You will then be told if there is any stock, if you are allowed it, and when you can collect. If your vehicle license plate and phone number have not been used to receive Westvleteren beers in the last 60 days, then you are allowed to reserve one crate of beer, to be collected from the Belgian countryside.
Amazingly, the ‘1001 Beer to Try Before You Die’ book has but a half page description, whereas they found room for a two-page spread on Grolsch…
Verdict: Do not drink this cold, unlike Grolsch, we don’t need the sharp chill to mask the flavour. Undoubtedly, this is a fine beer. for me, the rarity and history of the beer made it even better. However, I’m not convinced this is better than Rochefort 10, but whilst Westvletern 12 cost me €10 per bottle, I’m unlikely to find out.