Belgium How and where to get a Westvleteren Red Cap

Discussion in 'Europe' started by 4thelvofbeer, May 11, 2012.

  1. Sharing this knowledge may deplete the supply of Westvleren red caps at this place, but beer is to be shared, so here goes the info. This is a tough beer to come across since it was last brewed over 10 years ago. There is a place to get one, but it comes at a hefty price and it is in a land far, far away. The bar is called the Kulminator (it is the top ranked bar on BA) and it is located in Antwerp, Belgium. It is one of my favorite bars in the world, period. Been there a dozen times and miss it to the point of tears every time I leave. Anyway, they have a regular menu which is a thick notebook that contains their beers for sale. What most visitors don't know is that there are other beers the Kulminator has that you have to ask for that are not listed in the menu. There is a "Flight of Westvleteren" that includes about 7 different new and aged Westvleteren beers dating back to the mid 90s. Ask the owners for a Westvleteren card. The flight of beers cost 100 Euros (was the price the last time I was there). They do not sell the coveted "RED CAP" Westy, also known as the Westy Special separately, you must buy the entire flight to get it. The flight is worth it as you get to drink a vertical of Westys spanning close to 20 years. If you ever visit Belgium and find yourself in Antwerp, visit the Kulminator and enjoy!!!!!!
    a16ert and mellowmark like this.
  2. Cool, I'll go when I get off work.
  3. If you work in Antwerp, cool. I'm betting you've never even been to Belgium though....
  4. Nope, never been to Belgium. What gave it away?
  5. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    When and who they serve these flights too is always up for a debate. It seems to be up to dirks mood. I'm sure that these beers are not going to disappear soon.

    Yes, I've been told that a single person can partake, but if given the chance out of respect I'd pass. Seven is just too much for one person. Maybe if one stayed all day, but still.
  6. But, they actually let you buy beer and take it out of there. I bought a flight and drank only 3 and took the rest with me. Also bought and took some aged Westmalle Dubbels....
    mellowmark likes this.
  7. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    Were you allowed to choose the take aways?
  8. No, you can drink what you want or take what you want. You have to let them know to bring them to the table unopened though. One time I had a flight (I have enjoyed a few), and the bottle were opened at the bar and then bought to the table.
  9. metalgdog

    metalgdog Savant (315) New York Dec 17, 2010

    I will be at the Kulminator next week. What are some of the other beers that are not on the main menu that you have to ask for?
    4thelvofbeer likes this.
  10. TurdFurgison

    TurdFurgison Champion (855) Ohio May 29, 2005 Verified

    I thought this was common knowledge. At least in my beer circles everyone knows that you can get Westy flights at Kulminator...

    What used to be cooler was that you didn't have to buy a full flight (until some time in 2007-2008). You could just buy Red Caps individually back then.
  11. Yep, no problem...just let them know the ones you will be taking right up front or you chance her (forget the great Womans name) opening it up....
  12. The have some Still Nights that are aged (about 2005 or so) that are not on the list. There is also some really old St. Bernandus. I'm sure there are others. If you strike up a conversation with the woman or Dirk (preferably with her) they can probably recommend some. Tell them what you like....
  13. I am not in "your circles", just trying to get some good info out to people who would like to enjoy some older Westys (your status sums your comment). I am pretty sure that it is not "common knowledge".

    I did live in England for three years and was fortunate enough to be able to make regular trips over there.
  14. TurdFurgison

    TurdFurgison Champion (855) Ohio May 29, 2005 Verified

    Her name is Leen.
  15. Thanks for the info. I don't get over to mainland Europe much anymore, but will try to look those places up when I do. And yup, your status comment is right on....
  16. Thanks for using my format of explanation though.....humbling.....
  17. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    Not totally common knowledge. I never knew that you could do take-ways. The rest I knew was the framework, but I've heard that it didn't always happen as described. From the comments in this thread the no sale cases must be the rarities. So thanks to the OP.
  18. Hi,
    I do know a bar where one red cap is exposed


    Unfortunately not for sale !
    The place? Cafe De Vriendschap - Terneuzen - the Netherlands
    4thelvofbeer likes this.
  19. Nice! Thanks for the info and pick!!!
  20. UncleJimbo

    UncleJimbo Site Editor (1,005) Massachusetts Sep 11, 2002 Staff Member Verified Subscriber

    I've been to De Kulminator many a time, and usually I drink a Westvleteren or two, but I have never bought the entire flight. Years ago when cases of Westvleteren 12 were easier to get at the Abbey, Dirk would sell me bottles of 12 to take home, but I don't think he does this anymore, at least not very often.

    They also sell flights of other beers (e.g., Stille Nacht Reserva), but I can't remember if they are in the menu book or not. It helps to ask about beers not in the menu, but I warn you NOT to ask Dirk, "What is good?" or "What should I order?" He gets annoyed by those kinds of questions.
  21. Yeah, agree. You have to ask his wife (think her name is Leen?). She has always been really nice to us. The Kulminator is one of the best bars with the best selections. Living in England for the past few years, I was able to visit at will. Now that I am living back in the States, I am seriously missing visiting there!! Definitely on my list to go to when I visit Belgium again next year. It is a pilgrimage for Belgian beer lovers!!!!!

    Thanks for the info!!
  22. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    I'm pretty sure that the Stille Nacht Reserva are in the big book. Dulle Teve Special Reserva 2003 is part (or was) included in the flight. IIRC correctly this isn't a structured flight. The choices are greater then the requirement. Or maybe I was drunk and not remembering correctly. Not sure how that happened though.

    (Am I allowed to pimp for someone?) David at Struise is/was looking for a bottle of Dulle Teve Special Reserva 2003. He has a great cellar and I'm sure will trade.