Reposting from an old blog...
So there’s the hype about Westvleteren 12 (aka Westy 12) like; best beer in the world, hardest to get, most amazing Quad, ad nauseum.
But what about the Blonde, and Westy 8?
Now all the hype about Westy 12 is deserved to a large extent. I’ve had Westy 12 I had shipped from Belgium and cellared, also procured and shared by my good friend Scott Bennett of SNB Brewing, and from the special gift pack release to the US earlier this year.
Every time I’ve tried the 12, it’s been both remarkably good, and a little different from the previous time. The best bottle I had was shipped from Belgium, from before the XII emblazoned bottles, and I cellared it 8 months before opening. Altogether – including the months of cellaring the Monks of Saint Sixtus do before releasing – it was probably near 2 years in the bottle. Delicious, complex, rich, and smooth – there’s only one Quad I enjoy nearly as much.
But, again, what about the Blonde, and Westy 8? Scott Bennett was once again the source of my opportunity to try the Westy non-12 beers.
Belgian Blonde (aka pale) beers are a little appreciated style – overshadowed by the bigger bolder styles like the golden or dark strong, dubbel, tripel, and Quad – but really have the capacity to showcase the subtle character of the malts, yeast, and fermentation schedule of the brewer. And you have to get them right – because there’s no big punchy flavors to hide a mistake. The Westy Blonde is a perfect example of a good Belgian Blonde – beautiful golden color, wonderful floral and sweet aromas, beautifully nuanced balance of malt and yeast esters in the flavors, and both light and lightly rich on the palate. Simply and easily, the best Belgian Blonde I have ever had. Wonderful!
And Westy 8? Do you imagine you’ve had a seriously good Belgian Dubbel? Well, yes, you have imagined – unless you’ve had Westy 8. If you’ve had it, you’d know (not imagine) you’ve had a seriously good Belgian Dubbel. Warm and slightly amber color, sweetness and plumy/figgy aroma, complex and well balanced sweet/savory flavors, and slippery delicious on the palate. Like the Blond, this is the best Belgian Dubbel I’ve ever had.
Just in case the conclusion isn’t glaringly obvious, let me sum it up. If you have an opportunity to acquire and/or try any Westvleteren beer, don’t let it pass. If you have an opportunity to have all three at the same time, and don’t jump on it, you are an uber-knucklehead.