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Westvleteren - A view from our expert author


Sint Sixtus Abbey Flanders Belgium by Caroline Vancoillie ShutterstockSint-Sixtus Abbey © Caroline Vancoillie, Shutterstock

This small village is home to Sint-Sixus Abbey, where 29 Cistercian monks brew award-winning Trappist beers, including the rarest variety in the world.

Whisper ‘Westvleteren’ into the ear of any beer enthusiast and they’ll be putty in your hands. Sitting in seclusion 17km north of Poperinge, this small village is home to the revered Sint-Sixtus Abbey. Inside its walls, 29 Cistercian monks brew award-winning Trappist beers, including the elusive No 12 – repeatedly ranked as the rarest variety in the world. The recipe of this beer remains undisclosed and for a long time its production was shrouded in mystery; the unlabelled bottles are sold only from an obscure side entrance at the abbey itself.

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