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Trying to score a crate or two of Westvleteren 12

Discussion in 'Benelux' started by SammyJ, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Beer Illuminati,
    I will be living and working in Munich during the months of April through May. One of the very very very [very] high things to do on my list is to make my pilgrimage to the abbey and purchase 2 crates of Westvleteren 12. I've read multiple posts here and elsewhere and I still have a few questions:

    1. Is it still ridiculously hard to get through the phone lines?
    2. I have a skype number, is it still blocked to call from skype?
    3. How many days after the call can you typically get the reservation. As in, if I call from Germany, will they tell me to go pick it up tomorrow? I'd need at least a week, better yet would be a few weeks, notice before I can take off, rent a car and drive to Belgium from Munich.

    I realize that you can purchase the beer and crates elsewhere, but it's more about the journey and the bucket list check than anything. Any ideas/advice on how to increase my chances here?

    thank you in advance!
    S
     
  2. Hello,
    1. Yes, it's hard to get through
    2. Skype doesn't work. I've contacted skype support and they said that Westvleteren number won't work on skype(even with correct Caller ID).
    3. Here is what Brabander replied to me related to dates:
    "When you get trough the person from the abbey looks which date on the right of the page (pick up after reservation) is available and he will give you that date (and the time) you can pick up the beer. You can ask him if another date is available and then he will ask you which date on the page would best suit you. It is not possible to ask for a date which is not on the page..."
     
  3. 1. Yes...it is still very hard but not impossible. Use several cellphones and keep hitting the dials.
    2. Skype does not work. You will need phones with the cellifo visible. If the monks can not see your number you will NOT be connected.
    3. For the dates you will have to follow the beersite. If you get trough you can ask for one of the dates visible on the page. Mostly the saturday are full very fast.

    Outside that you will have to be lucky enough that the 12 will be available when you want to come.

    Good luck, the are people who sell the crate on sites in Holland for 150 euro....

    Thijs
     
    claaark13 likes this.
  4. BTW, i will be going to the abbey on the 22nd of april...
     
    bierenutz likes this.
  5. mjtierney2

    mjtierney2 Savant (465) Germany Jul 31, 2011

    Hello! I just did this recently, also from Germany. It was a great weekend, and definitely worth doing, although I am a bit closer to Belgium than you are. I used a cell phone, and entered their number into my address book as "Abbey" so it would default alphabetically to the Abbey beer line when I went to my Address Book function. It saved me some button-pushing. I had to call unsuccessfully for about an hour before finally getting through. I don't know if this is good or bad relative to normal wait times. Be sure to check their website for when to call and what beer is available. If you get through, they will likely be as accommodating as they can with scheduling, although I imagine Saturdays "sell out" faster than other days. I believe I scheduled pick-up about 10-14 days after calling.

    A few things I would recommend:
    • If you can, find another brewery/monastery to visit on the way home.
    • Find a regular ol' beer store somewhere nearby and buy some other Belgian goodies. You won't see them in Germany!
    • Spend at least some of your free time over in Bamberg (Germany). You know, they have some pretty good beer there, too. ;)
    Cheers and happy travels!
     
    CoverMePorkins likes this.
  6. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Thanks for all of the replies guys! I'm really looking forward to it, and if I can work it in to be near a weekend, I'll definitely spend some time exploring the area. I have a friend who's family is from Ypers, so hopefully I can go visit with them and plan some time in Bruges and Brussels.

    Thjis, the 22nd would actually work well enough for me if I were lucky and got that date. It's what I'll shoot for as a target, let's see if it works.

    Ultimately, it's not so much about the beer (although thats of course a big plus). It's about the journey and the fact that I can say that I was one of the lucky few to have gotten Westvleteren from its birthplace!

    Cheers,
    S
     
  7. And more...going inside the abbey and see the monks...going to Struise and meet some of the guys there.....

    I hope you can make it the 22nd, i will go then for certain. I need more Westy's for BA's!

    Thijs
     
  8. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Will they actually let you go inside? Last I heard, they really don't let you do that anymore. I'd love to see some of the artwork that's in there.
     
  9. If you know how to do that it is really simple to go inside the abbey. You are not allowed to makes pictures but youwill see a nice part of the abbey when you walk trough it!

    Thijs
     
  10. Tut

    Tut Savant (390) New York Sep 23, 2004

    One of the lucky few?

    Depends on how long you've been a traveling adult. 10+ years ago you could drive up without a reservation and simply exchange a crate of empty's for more beer, depending on what was available. I biked out there in 2000 (second visit) and was given two bottles of 12, to drink on my upcoming birthday, by the monk on duty at the outside drive up dock.

    Too bad younger people turned it into such a cult beer since then. Look at the constant posts about getting some here. I don't bother with it anymore when I'm in Belgium.
     
    Brabander likes this.
  11. SStein

    SStein Savant (360) Belgium Dec 26, 2012

    Getting in on Saturdays is definitely difficult but well worth it. The slight detour to Oostvleteren is worth it to go to Struise. De Dolle is also near by, however they don't do English tours on Sat, those are Sun. The bar at De Dolle is still a great spot to stop and grab a beer. Waiting an hour to get into the line is good. My wife has called within an hour and got through and on other days callled all day and not gotten through.
     
  12. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Just wanted to thank everyone for the info and their help. Ended up calling early last week and getting through (relatively quickly once I figured out how to call). The gentleman on the phone was quite nice and accommodating. When he asked me for my license plate number, I told him it was a rental. He just asked me for my name and said to bring ID.

    At the pickup point, when I pulled around, I just showed them my ID and all was good. The guys that were loading were really friendly. The weekend was a whirlwind (driving there from Munich is longer than I expected). But totally worth it. We weren't able to go to the Cafe, it was closed this week, so that was a downer, but perhaps I'll be able to make it back in the future. Fortunately, we were able to pick up a 3-pack variety and some glassware at the beer pickup point.

    All in all, it was a very humbling experience, to see the "best beer in the world" come from such a simple place, where people have dedicated their lives to a higher cause. It turned out to be a really great journey that I was able to share with one of my best friends.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Perhaps this is an ignorant question, but they speak English, right?
     
  14. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Yes, not a problem at all. He answered in Dutch I believe and I nervously asked, "English?". He chuckled and said, "Yes, how may I help you?"
     
    doopiedoopiedoo likes this.
  15. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Good, I can say "Spreekt u Engels?", but that's about it.
     
  16. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Alright, so please clarify this for me. Sorry if I'm being dense but I want to be 100% sure I understand. Looking at the Westvleteren schedule: I call at the time and on the day listed under the column titled "Reserve by phone" and they will tell me when to pick up. Looks like if I called Weds, 4/10, or Thurs, 4/11, I would be assigned to pick up Blond one day the following week. Am I getting this right? Thanks!

    BTW, I'm going to Belgium May 9-15. Any chance they'll let me reserve a little early if I call?
     
  17. You guys are lucky,I lived in Germany for 3 years but never made it up. There is some awesome monasteries in Germany as well. Weltenburger is near regensburg and its a cool place to grab some grub and brew. Also up near schwienfurt is one called kreuzberg, http://www.kreuzbergbier.de.
     
    SammyJ likes this.
  18. mrkrispy

    mrkrispy Savant (410) California Apr 5, 2006

    cool photos!
     
  19. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Josh: I'd love to check some out. I might start a new thread in the Germany section to help track some cool [monastic] locales to visit.

    Mr Krispy -- thanks!


    BTW, I tried the Blond a few days ago. It was really amazing. Incredibly creamy, well balanced, all around incredible.
     
    mjtierney2 likes this.
  20. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Right -- OK, so you have two columns, the (A) "Reserve by Phone" and (B) "Pickup". On A, it lists the times you can call and what beer you can expect to reserve if you happen to get through during those times. Column B lists what days still have beer available available. So, if Column A lists 2 creates of Blond, then you would look to see in B when you can pick up those 2 crates of Blond. If The pickup date isn't shown on the page yet (if you look today, you can see that A lists several call dates for 12, but B doesn't yet show pick up dates). Ultimately, when you call, he'll tell you what's available and tell you what days are open for pick up (which corresponds to the schedule).

    YMMV, but I sincerely doubt it. If you're going on May 9-15, you'll have a good window. Just watch the page and as soon as you see those dates listed, get ready to call. I apparently had some good karma coming my way, and I'll pay it forward by hoping for the best for you :).

    Hope this helps!
     
  21. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    I just got through after about 15-20 minutes of calling. Nice guy, but I was a couple weeks too early. He said to call about a week ahead.
     
  22. wow had to call the entire Wednesday. lucky 3 minutes before closing time I got through. Next Wednesday I can pick them up. :) im very happy ofcourse ;)
     
  23. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    The ENTIRE Wednesday? I literally called continuously for 20 minutes, doing nothing else.
     
  24. jup I think I called +300 times lol. everytime after 2 seconds I got disconnected. only got lucky at the end. Maybe you have an advantage because you live outside Belgium? I dont know how their phonecentral works.
     
  25. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    According to my phone I called 86 times.
     
  26. Lol I called 500 times apparently. Nevertheless i finally will be able to taste a westvleteren for the first time. Luckly i could get a half day off to go to westvleteren.
     
  27. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Enjoy! When I was there, In De Verde was closed, so I couldn't enjoy the beers on site, hopefully you can!
     
  28. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (165) Oregon Jan 10, 2012

    If I am able to get 1 or 2 "crates" at Westy in June, any suggestions how I might get 24 or 48 bottles back to the US? Can I pick up styrofoam mailers and ship DHL? This is for personal storage and aging as I don't expect to get back to Belgium anytime soon.
     
  29. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Been trying to figure this out myself. I believe it differs by state, but AFAIK, it's illegal to ship alcohol. What ends up happening is the potential for customs to open up your package and maybe hang on to a few beers for their personal consumption. YMMV, but I am planning on forgoing shipping and rather carrying them in my checked luggage.
     
  30. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Why wouldn't you check it in luggage?
     
  31. jimpdx

    jimpdx Aficionado (165) Oregon Jan 10, 2012

    Guess I will only have one choice to bring an extra suitcase and wrap bottles in all the beer porn shirts I will inevitably buy :)
     
  32. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    Yep. I figure a case of 12 oz bottles weighs about 30 lbs, including bottles. Better hit the gym.
     
  33. bshaf

    bshaf Zealot (85) Texas Jan 15, 2010

    so the only days for calling are on wednesday?

    also since next week both of the call times are for the blonde the following week that is all that will be for sale? or am i misunderstanding this completely?
     
  34. On wednesday the 22nd you can call for the blond and not for the other beers. At the moment you can not see on the site when the blond can be picked up but normally the refresh the page every sunday.

    Just follow the site and it will be clear...

    Thijs
     
  35. bshaf

    bshaf Zealot (85) Texas Jan 15, 2010

    Okay I'll see what happens Sunday then

    It just seems like there won't be any 12 for the week of 27/5 - 2/6 since the only calling day the week before is for blonde
     
  36. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    Are you just visiting that week? Hopefully you can get the 8 or the 12, if you call on Wednesday the 22nd, the only thing you'll be able to get is the Blond. Though, I will say this, if you can get nothing else, the Blond is a heck of a consolation prize.
     
  37. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    I had all three in In de Vrede, and personally thought the blonde was, how do I say this, the most exceptional for what it was? It was by FAAAAAR the best blonde I've ever tasted. Yes, the others are exceptional beers, but there are other dubbels and quads in the same elite level.

    Also, they sell four packs of the 12 in the gift shop.
     
  38. SammyJ

    SammyJ Zealot (90) North Carolina Mar 14, 2013

    I bought a 3-variety pack. So far I've had the Blond and the 8. I agree with DStoked -- the Blond was exceptional in its category. Really something outstanding. I think maybe the 8 and 12 were too young to be truly appreciated at the cafe?

    Unfortunately, my bottle of 8 was completely skunked :(. Fortunately, a friend had his which he allowed us all to share. It was really disappointing. I'm hoping to get into the 12 tonight, hopefully the 8 was just a bad bottle and not indicative of my handling of the pack.
     
  39. mrkrispy

    mrkrispy Savant (410) California Apr 5, 2006

    The stealth winner at In de Vrede is the pate'...don't tell anyone!
     
  40. DStoked

    DStoked Savant (320) Ohio Sep 28, 2011

    We got some too, and it was damn good! The cheese was great too...snuck some through customs coming back.
     
    mrkrispy likes this.

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