In de Vrede

Not Rated.
In de VredeIn de Vrede
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

101 Ratings
Ratings: 101
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: 3
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery, Store ]

Donkerstraat 13
Westvleteren, 8640
Belgium
phone: +32 57 40 03 77

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: TheLongBeachBum

Legally, the only retail vendor for the famous Westvleteren Trappist beers. Blonde, 8, and 12 are available, plus a selection of cheese and meats.
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Ratings: 101 | Reviews: 75
Reviews by spoony:
Photo of spoony
4.24/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

A-In de Vrede is located in a lovely, large, modern building in (pretty much) the middle of nowhere. We arrived pretty early in the day (11 am) and the big space was mostly quiet and empty with the exception of a few other tourist groups of various sizes. Unlike many places in Belgian, this place reminded me of a commercially-oriented U.S. winery. It isn't cold or clinical feeling, but it does not have the warmth you might expect from an abbey. The small gift shop is located near the front of the large bar.

Q-The choices are limited, but what choices they are! Westy Blonde, VIII, or XII is all you get, but it might be all you need.

Ser-The servers are friendly and knowledgeable about the beer they are selling. We didn't order food, so I cannot comment on that aspect, but our beers were delivered promptly after ordering them and poured with skill.

Sel-The very limited selection is what it is....

V-The prices are higher than other bars/restaurants, but they were not eye-popping. The high prices here are merely a reflection that beer prices in Belgian are so good elsewhere and I did not feel like I was being gauged here.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Rifugium
3.66/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.5

This is the touristy portion of your Westvleteren trip. You visit the monastery and witness the serenity within, then get the contrasting atmosphere of this more commercialized restaurant. In de Vrede could easily be any basic family-focused eatery in the world, but when you make the trip to Westvleteren, you obviously should be going here.

Across the way from the brewery/abbey, a verdant walkway leads you to the In de Vrede. Inside is quite spacious with a lot of seating, and even early in the day, the place is packed. There is no bar, just table service. Beer selection is limited to the three abbey beers, as you would expect (bottle pours). You can purchase Westvleteren bottles many places in Belgium, but you'll probably never find them at the prices offered at the source. And if you're lucky--as I was--there may be 6-pack sales in the gift shop...look for a line to form suddenly, and you'll know that's what it's for. Twenty euros for 6 bottles of Westy12? Sure, I'll go for that. Plenty of other merch and dry goods available as well. Lining up for cases/crates at the brewery is not something I've personally experienced, so I have no real advice to give on that.

Service was spotty and somewhat hectic, but understandably so, as there were only a few servers tending a very large crowd. Food options were limited to snacky items and meat-and-cheese-plate style sandwiches; everything we had was tasty.

Westvleteren and In de Vrede makes for a good outing during a trip to Belgium. The restaurant isn't a place I'd normally go to if it were in a city (just not my preferred atmosphere when I'm enjoying a beer), but it's definitely a destination that's worth the trip. Make sure you visit De Struise as well, as it's only about 10 minutes away.

Photo of stevoj
4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

As this is the only place to get Westvleteren, the selection can’t be beat. Had the 12 with dinner, the 8 with dessert and finished with the blonde. Truly a day to be remembered...

Photo of dabone
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Enjoyable place that serves Westys. Good atmosphere, good luck buying a six pack of 12's.

Photo of GJ40
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

We finally made the pilgrimage and it was well worth it. Unfortunately they weren't selling any beer in the shop. So we sat down and sampled the 6, 8 and 12 along with a cheese and bread plate. It was fantastic! The crowd seemed a mix of beer travelers, religious travelers and locals.

We came back the next day and they had all three beers for sale in the shop. Unfortunately, we were running low on space so we bought only a six of 8 and another of 12. I think we could have gotten double that.

The experience is somewhat limited but still well worth a visit.

Photo of almostjay
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This place feels pretty "antiseptic", but if you're in search of the XII (which I think people might not be anymore?) you should feel pretty grateful that this place exists. I think I had a ham and cheese sandwich while I was there as well, it was pretty good. Also, watch out for grain harvesters on the little rural roads as you head back to civilization.

Photo of Footballtennishockeygolf
5/5  rDev +19%

Located about 45 minutes by foot from Poperinge which provides the best connections via train to the rest of Belgium. The walk is incredibly scenic as you walk amongst the very hop fields that are used to cultivate the ingredients that go into Westvleteren's beer. The pub pops up seemingly in the middle of nowhere along with the monastery right next door. The back porch offers a picturesque view of the countryside as you sample what is considered by some to be the best beer in the world. An amazing experience to say the least

Photo of SStein
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Typical slow European service. Sometimes has beer for sale, sometimes not. Worth sitting around and drinking a the 3 Westvleteren beers. The Trappist Ice Cream is amazing, especially paired with the Blonde.

Photo of endovelico
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

When it comes down to it, a trip to Belgium isn't complete until you've had a taste of the forever-mythical-status Westvleteren beers. Part of the charm of achieving this is that there is really only one way to do it. To head deep into West Flanders, cross the Popenringe hop fields, through the barley fields and stop at one Sint-Sixtus Abbey is really a magical journey in itself. I don't know what was more memorable to me; Actually being vis-à-vis with “the” abbey that I, as a beer lover had seen so many times mentioned in literature and conversations or that just at a stone's throw a modest beer garden was sizzling with dozens of people casually enjoying their favourite Westie.

What I hope to convey with this short preambule, is that this isn't as simple as looking at prices and offerings in the pubs carte. It's hard to not let intangibles get to you. You're about to drink Westvleteren, in the Mecca-country of the beer world, within a proverbial arms-reach of immense golden grain fields. Yes, it is the only place officially serving Westvleteren. Yes, it is also remarkably cheap (especially if you're conditioned to expect a lot more, because you've paid too much attention to black-market prices over the years) and yes the food is actually quite decent. However, where this place excels is at giving you the authentic feeling that you're about to drink the best beer in the world, in the best most adequate possible setting.

Photo of byronic
3.3/5  rDev -21.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Definitely worth a visit! If you want to try all three beers on offer this is the place to be.

All three brews are available on the menu although they are all served from the bottle. The rest of the menu is uninspired and comparable to most cafés in Belgium. I found the atmosphere to be non-existent.

The shop that makes up part of this establishment will sell 12, 8 and blonde when available in six packs. They also have glasses available in four packs.

Compared to visiting the other Trappist abbeys/establishments this one is a very dull experience outside of the beer itself.

Photo of Jackofallbrews
3.99/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

We arrived at the restaurant fairly early and they were still selling some 6 packs of Westy 8, so I got in line immediately and got one before having lunch. Prices were reasonable, and these same beers would sell for three times as much elsewhere in Belgium and up to 10 times as much in America.

We were seated quickly and our group promptly ordered beers and continued to work on some lunch orders. I ended up with a tasty pate made from mystery meat and Westy beer. One of our traveling companions ended up with a texturally disturbing head cheese of some kind, but he was a trooper and ran with it. It was a beautiful sight looking at all those Westvleteren beers lined up in front of us. But how were they? Did they stand up to the hype? In a word: yes!

The Westy blonde beer was lighter, crisp and dry. There was a definite hop bitterness and flavor to the beer, but noble floral hops, not citrus hops. This was refreshing and slightly fruity. I would drink this any day and every day if I could.

The Westy 8 is a brown ale, more in line with a Belgian Dubbel. There is some carmelized sugar character and some fruity aroma and flavor from the Belgian yeasts. Very dry and easy to drink, with hints of dark fruit on the finish.

The Westy 12 is the big gun of the batch. Higher in alcohol, and darker in color, this one has a depth of character that belies its simple recipe. The combination of esters, dark sugar and alcohol warming seems to work in amazing harmony in this excellent beer. I would love to try an aged version of this, since I can only imagine that the dark fruit flavors would intensify with some time.

A great visit, but the feel of the place is a little too modern. I would have liked it more if they used some imitation medieval architecture or had it a little darker.

Photo of shigg85
3.78/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Just visited 12/28/13. Bring a Flemish-English dictionary as there is no English menu for food items. Westvleteren 6 and 12 available in bottle pours, not from a tap. 8 is available in 6-packs for sale at 17 euro (an awesome price). Really busy at lunch time with lots of locals, and the servers are a little understaffed. You better like bread, meat, cheese, and salad -- that's about it for Flemish food (I personally loved it and thought the quality was great, but my wife had a hard time). About 90 minute drive from Brussels. Really a great place, and the only (legal) outlet for Westvleteren beers.

Photo of dirtylou
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Cool experience to visit the monastery in between visits at St Bernardus and De Struise, talk about an unforgettable day.

The pub is obscenely modern, almost shockingly so. Pretty stupid to complain since the service was frantically attentive and all 3 Westy beers were available at about 4 euros a piece. All were fantastic too - the blonde was a nice surprise and the 12 was as delightful as imaginable.

Not really sure how to rate the selection - they had the 3 beers. Didnt expect anything more and would have been upset with less. Perfect?

I would typically be supportive of the comments arguing Rochefort 10 or St B 12 are superior beers (i love them both), but this visit cleared those doubts and proved all the counter arguments to just be flat wrong. Westy 12 wins.

It seems a little odd to plan a visit to this region just to stop here, but its a must-stop when bouncing around Flanders - Saturday would be a good day as you can hit De Struise as well.

Photo of corneliusfontaine
5/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is one of my favorite places. In the middle of the Belgium farm fields next to the monastry and the brewery where they serve you the best beer in the world accompanied by fantastic. Cheeses and paté's. I visit them a few times per month and always return home with a smile on my face.

Photo of RobertRedmoon
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Be sure to check to make sure the place is open before you make the trip. The first time I went the place was closed from December 23rd to January 15th. That was January 15th and my hotel was in Brussels.

Anyhoo, the drive to the abbey is wonderfully atmospheric. Through fields and on dirt roads, it has a distinct country mood and charm. The grounds of the abbey are fun to walk through and spend some time after a few brews at the cafe.

The cafe is much larger than I expected. It has a family atmosphere, while the average age was probably 60. It was completely full and almost everyone I met and spoke to were Belgian, and many were locals. This gave it a small town pub feel.

This was also the first chance I had to try "the other two" beers. Even though the place was super busy the servers there were quick to spot an empty glass and refill it with some of the best beers in the world. When I went in November of 2012 the Blond was €3.70, the Bruin 8 was €4.20, and the Bruin 12 was €4.70. All doable considering I bought the gift-pack six-pack for €90 at a retail location in Germany. We also had desert that was delicious and went well with the beers.

Overall, it was one of the greatest beer experiences I've ever had. If you're considering it, do it!

Photo of NJMikeNords
3.44/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4 | food: 2

Went in 2011 and at the time I was just getting into beer, so the only beer I really knew or cared about was the infamous Westvleteren. The food was not good, and not really representative of the food from the area. I wasn't told this but I think it was based on the minimalist food that the monks live on. I remember getting a slab of ham and bread, with the ham being an inch thick and I couldn't make a sandwich out of it. Just weird. But lets be honest here, I did not go for the food. Im just wondering what other reviewers are thinking with their "the food was good". Maybe if your a monk.. Was able to get a twelve pack, three of each ale, 8 and 12 to go. Still have two of each.
The beer is excellent. As with my experiences with other beers and brewerys, the beer will never taste as good as it does fresh out of the tap at the brewery. Westy 12 really does deserve to be in the top ten. (I actually think Rochefort 10 is better, but thats my opinion).

Overall well worth the 2 hr drive to the middle of nowhere, for the beer mostly, and for the experience.

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Well, who doesn't want to go here. The beer alone is worth the travel. But the food is pretty decent, too. I scored it high because the beer is so doggone good. The only issue I had was the crowd. It was full of tourists and always crowded. Although the service was excellent, there were other workers there who weren't so friendly, particularly in the gift shop.

Photo of kingjohnh
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Overall, an amazing place and am blessed to have been able to visit. If you are looking to score a 6-pack b/c you didn't get through on the beer line, do NOT come on Saturday or Sunday. Our waiter told is that his boss rarely allowed them to sell beer through the gift shop on the weekend as the line gets so long and slows down things at the cafe. I wish I would have known this as I could have come during the week, but came on Saturday (today!!) out of convenience. Still got to have several of all 3 beers, but none to take home (not even the three pack from where people pick up their case). So, be sure to go, but Mon, Tues or Wed and preferably in the am.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.2/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Arriving here by rented bike was much fun despite the constant smell of manure. Riding in the countryside is so much different from riding in the city, and the scenery is simply gorgeous. You'll likely ride by some hop farms, putting you more in the mood for a beer. By the time you have arrived, you will definately have built a thirst. I suspect that's part of the plan.

The cafe's interior is spacious, modern, climate controlled, and filled with many tables. There's a large beer garden out back, which gives you a great view of the surrounding countryside. On a mostly sunny day, this was the place to be. There is table service, which makes the experience even more enjoyable; it would have killed the mood if I had to get out of my seat every time I had to order a beer.

Most of you have heard about In de Vrede, and a few have probably just heard of it for the first time. For the latter, this is the only legal home of the exclusive Westvleteren beer. All three are available, served and poured from the bottle, into their own branded chalice. It's tempting to order nothing but the 12, but I think sampling all three beers in order will give you the proper In de Vrede experience. Even the weakest Westvleten offering is better than at least 90% of the beers out there, which tells you how good the beer is. Beautiful pours of the beer in their glassware just adds texture to the experience.

Small snacks are available too. You won't find a much bigger food item than a croque monsieur, and it's a simple, but well made version that works with the beer.

In de Vrede was made for the beer geek. It's a little out of the way, but to me, it was worth the trip.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

8/16/12

I had a bottle to Westvleteren 12 at the Locus Publicus in Delft in 2003 before I understood what I was drinking. Fast forward to Belgium 2012: a trip to In de Vrede to drink Westvleteren as close to the brewery as possible was a no brainer (no public tours of the abbey).

We stayed at the Palace Hotel so that we could get an early start and be able to walk to bus stop. To get to In de Vrede, an intrepid beer drinker can take the De Lijn Belbus 69. A reservation can be made up to two weeks in advance, according to one website I read, but the official information said at least two hours in advance. The De Lijn representative, who spoke excellent English, said that it's a minimum two hour wait from the time a pick up call is made. When making a reservation to drink Westvleteren, the local name seems to simply be "the abbey." Saying anything else is superfluous.

In Poperinge, the bus stop is either at the train station or at the market downtown. We did the market downtown location that's just off the main square between the public bathrooms on one side of the road and a big church on the other. It showed up right on time. Several locals were on the bus and we were the only ones to get off at the abbey, which is conveniently the first stop. It's August now, so the hops are full and heavy on the vine as we see the town sign for the village of Westvleteren. The bus stop is right outside of the abbey itself. Head down the asphalt road beside the abbey, follow the large flags that say Westvleteren to the right, and stroll leisurely down a tree lined sidewalk to In de Vrede.

It is a beautiful day, so we sat in the bier garden in the back. Table service was fairly quick and it's whatever waiter is available. From what I can tell, it's pay as you go so no one has to keep a tab. We paid cash for the convenience, so never tried a credit card.

Gloria, naturally, started with the Bruin 12, and I got a Blonde 6 to taste up the ladder. Unfortunately, it's the height of summer corn and hop crops here, so my allergies are acting up and my senses are not at their best for this bucket list adventure. Imagining a visit to Westvleteren, I never considered that my hay fever that I tried to leave behind in Iowa would re-emerge in this very home-like part of Belgium. Since a non-summer visit isn't an option, I resolve to have a fine day drinking world class beer between sniffles.

The Blonde 6 is a hazy orange with an off white lace down the side of the glass. Slight yeasty nose and spice over a base of a light malt. Not an assertive nose, but pleasant, especially when sipped; the spice is strong in the mouth with a yeasty supplement.

The Bruin 8 is similar to the 12 at first blush. Very similar but lighter all around: color, body and taste. So, on to the 12. Incredible. The hints and tendencies of the 8 are in full bodied flavor for the 12. Exciting that it's so good. I had a secret fear that drinking on site might be disappointing but I should have known better. Thin brown head leaves an elegant lace, which has been light on pours of all three beers, that falls over an opaque, almost root beer colored body. Yeasty spice in the nose supported by fig, dark chocolate, overripe cherry and an almost sour earthiness that even our light summer breeze can't waft away. Taste has a slight yeast and carbonic bite. Sweet finish from a sugary center that balances the beer from front to back. Great beer that rightly deserves its reputation as one of the world's finest.

Lunch was very good but the only option for vegetarians is essentially a cheese sandwich with buttered bread. However, I'm pretty much happy with a big hunk of Gouda cheese. A very Belgian/Dutch lunch that was just fine to get us through the afternoon.

Finally being frustrated by the table service, I started getting 12s from the bar myself to make more of our drinking time. Being served on the patio, I didn't see any of our early glasses poured but confirmed later that everything is served from bottles and not on draft, something I hadn't thought about or seen in my research. When we got a waiter to get us a mid-afternoon dessert, he suggested the Coupe "In de Vrede," which is ice cream made with the bier (though I didn't understand which one but guessing a bruin). Too much whip cream on top for my taste but the sprinkled malt (like the inside of a malted milk ball) made it worthwhile; the beer clearly shows up in the ice cream near the bottom. Pricey but fun to order and probably worth the price of admission for most beer geeks.

Pictures of the cafe, the Belbus and more specific directions at http://pintsizedrevelations.blogspot.com/2013/03/in-de-vrende-near-abbey-st-sixtus.html

Photo of GRUUMSH
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Of course the choice in beers is very limited and prices may be a bit steep for Belgian Standards but what you get is very, very, very good:)
Most of the time the place is packed with people and some patience may be required.
The service is good and efficiënt. Nothing out of the ordinary there.
One thing is for sure: Those monks have a very good bussiness plan:)

Photo of kojevergas
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Okay, yes, technically the selection is quite limited. But come on now.

The food is simple but refreshing and good, and pairs nicely with their beers.

Obviously, the quality is brilliant. Why else would you come here? It's in the middle of nowhere.

Prices are unbeatable. World class beers for hardly anything.

Great craic to be had here with other visitors. People here are in the know; you don't just stumble in here by accident.

Great service. I've never been when they didn't have gift packs for sale. Every time I've gone, Westvleteren 12 has been available. The servers usually speak at least three languages.

Lots of beer pilgrims show up, and sometimes the Americans can be really annoying with their ignorance and volume, but other than that the environment is fine.

Rarely gets crowded except on release dates.

Definitely somewhere every beer advocate needs to go.

Photo of JimDH
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Riding a bicycle from the train station in Poperinge, out the narrow Sint-Sixtusstraat through hop farms, built the anticipation nicely for my first visit--and first taste of Westvleteren.

The patio was closed for the season, but the cafe was reasonably crowded early on the weekday afternoon. The descriptions of the place as a cafeteria aren't terribly far off, though the atmosphere is more comfortable than that--a lunch cafe rather than a dinner cafe. Many apparently-local retirees were there for lunch with coffee or blonde beer.

I received reasonably prompt service and had no significant communication problems, given that I only speak English. I had a chicken aspic sandwich, which was okay. I've learned since that the cheese sandwich is the best dish (and that the ice cream is excellent too).

The gift shop offered gift boxes--two blondes, an 8, a 12 and a chalice for 23 Euro--but had no six packs available when I was there.

I'm not sure why there are minor complaints about the beer selection. The reason we travel to In de Vrede is for the outstanding Westvletern beers, and I enjoyed each of them.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

This is one of the places that I most anticipated going when we went to Belgium. While I had previously had all three of the Westvleteren offerings, I was beyond excited to be able to try them at the source.

The atmosphere wasnt quite what I was expecting. The cafe has very modern decor and appears to be a bit of a tourist trap. That aspect of this place is not terribly appealing. However, that has to be balanced again the fact that this is the Westvleteren cafe and there is indeed something magical about having the abbey's beers at one of the cafe's tables.

The selection is exactly as you would expect -- you have a choice between all three Westvleteren beers. I started with the Blonde and Amy had a 12. We later each had an 8, of course taking sips from each other's choices along the way.

The service was quite good. The server was attentive and had no problem communicating with us in English.

I only had the Westy-infused ice cream and a small sandwich, so I can't comment too much on the food, but the ice cream was quite enjoyable. The menu is fairly limited.

All in all, this is a great place to visit. Aside from the cafe, there is also the small shop where you can by glassware ad up to six bottles to go, mixing and matching among whichever of the three beers are available to go at the time.

Photo of thepeter
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Wide open outside both in front and in the back. inside and out it was more modern than I was expecting, looked like a nice cafeteria with lot's of peopl efrom the comunity having lunch or a snack alongside a world class beer. Just pretty cool to see a pair of grandma's splitting a soup and sandwich each with their own full glass of Westvleteren (no sharing there!) Service was OK, as we only spooke English and our server did not she seemed to try and avoid us, had to get up to get extra napkins and mustard myself. As far as selection, they had 3 beers, be it three of the best beers, still 3 beers means I cannot go scoring this place a 4 or 5 (any othe rplace would get way lower. that being said, quality is way up there. Food was okay, we just got a cheese plate and a sausage . . . the sandwiches looked good, my bad for not getting one. Value was very good as the Westy's were not overpriced like they are everywhere else in the world. The fresh 12 is a bit young but I had to have one (and so do you!), the 8 was very good but the fresh Blonde blew them all away, FANTASTIC!!! If I ever end up there again I will just drink a few of those and be very happy.

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In de Vrede in Westvleteren, Belgium
93 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.