The world's best beer has come and gone

When God's work comes in the form of beer, you know it's got to be good beer. In the case of Westvleteren 12, a Trappist ale brewed by actual Trappist monks and sold to support their abbey, it's not just good beer—it's the best beer in the world. At least that's been the consistent consensus among thousands of beer nerds who weigh in on these things at the major beer rating sites, such as, and

While the monks at the Abbey of St. Sixtus in Belgium have funded their cloistered, contemplative lives through beer since the middle ages, they've only been making Westy 12, as it's called, since 1940. It was never sold in the U.S. until earlier this month, when 21 states shared a shipment of 15,000 six-packs. In Hawaii it was briefly available at Tamura's Market and Whole Foods Market. By now, the Islands' allotment is but a memory. A blessed, high-priced memory. A six-pack, which included two gold-lipped goblets, went for $93. If you missed it, you missed it. The monks have given no indication they plan to make this a regular thing.

Our office shared a single bottle, portioning it out like holy water. We thought it was heavenly. Although none of us drank enough to feel the kick, we were delighted to discover its high alcohol content. At 10.2 percent ABV, God's work can pack a wallop.

David Thompson is writing guest posts for Biting Commentary while dining editor Martha Cheng is on vacation.

[Edited 1/10/13: Previously, this article incorrectly stated that Westvleteren 12 was available at Real a Gastropub.]