Even if you’re not a beer nerd, you might have heard from NPR that the Trappist monks of Belgium’s Saint Sixtus Abbey imported their famous Westvleteren XII quadrupel to the States for the first time last week. On December 12, 2012, a total of 15,000 gift packs (priced at an eye-watering $84.99 for six bottles and two tasting glasses) went on sale in 21 states. Four stores in Illinois received the beer, including one in Chicago—the Binny’s location in Lincoln Park, which sold out by half past noon.

To get an idea how hyped Westvleteren XII is, all you have to do is consult the Internet’s two most popular beer-rating sites, Beer Advocate and RateBeer. By aggregating their millions of user ratings, they’ve compiled lists of the best-loved beers in the world; on the former, it’s in second place, and the latter has it squarely in first. Westvleteren XII has been first at Beer Advocate for much of the six years or so I’ve been consulting the site, but it’s currently displaced by Russian River’s Pliny the Younger.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid, and he’s also split two national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and one in in 2020 for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.