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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Morning Musings: On Westy 12

Westvleteran 12*
By Steve Siciliano

Evidently it is not enough to have within our borders a stable of world class breweries, the reigning Beer City, USA, and a population so passionate about craft beer that the outdoor winter beer festival sells out in a matter of hours. Last week, Michigan was inexplicably excluded from a short list of states deemed worthy enough to be included in the first ever distribution to the American market of the highly regarded Belgian Trappist ale, Westvleteren 12.

Considered by some aficionados to be the best beer in the world, Westy 12 has heretofore been available only at the brewery, which means there is always a fair amount of this stuff floating around on the grey market. For whatever reason, Shelton Brothers, the importer and orchestrator of this “one time only” release, chose not to bring the Westy 12 “bricks” into our state. (The bricks include six 33cl bottles and two branded glasses in an attractive, brick wall looking package.) Other beer hot spots like Iowa, Alabama, Louisiana and Nevada were blessed recipients. 

What gives? I don’t know for sure but I have a feeling it probably had something to do with Michigan Liquor Control rules and regulations. Evidently Shelton brothers worked closely with local wholesalers to ensure only select retailers received allotments and this, I’m quite sure, wouldn’t have flown with the MLCC.

Would I have loved to have been able to market some of this heavenly juice? Of course. According to some internet beer sites, Siciliano’s is a “world class” beer store, and what retailer worthy of that virtual moniker wouldn’t? But at the same time I have to admit that I was somewhat relieved that we didn’t have to deal with all the accompanying craziness.

What are your thoughts on the Westy 12? Does its “best beer in the world” sobriquet have anything to do with the fact that it’s so hard to get? Let us know your thoughts by leaving them in the comments section below.

*Photo of Westy 12 by Bernt Rostad. Found by Buzz editors in Flickr Creative Commons. See terms of license here.

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