Shortly after World War Two, the monks of Sint-Sixtus in West-Vleteren were looking for a partner to brew and sell their beers. They granted a license to cheesemaker Evarist Deconinck in nearby Watou. Although the license expired in 1992, the beers are still the same, with the same recipes, but under a different brand name: St. Bernardus.
The monks living at the the Saint-Sixtus abbey in West-Vleteren are trappist monks, following the rule of Saint Benedict: “We are no brewers. We are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks.” The Westvleteren 12 (Quadrupel, 10,2% ABV) has consistently been ranked very high in rankings by various websites. Is the ‘Westy 12’ really the best beer in the world? Find out for yourself during lunch at cafe In de Vrede opposite the monastery.
Brewery De Plukker was founded in 2010 by hops farmer Joris Cambie and brewer Kris Langouche. They installed their brewing kettles and fermentation tanks in a shed that had been used to pick and dry the hops. All their beers are organic, including Keikoppenbier (blond, 6% ABV) and Tripel Plukker (blond, 7,5% ABV).
Before driving back to Watou, we will spend a few hours in Ypres for dinner and to attend the Last Post, a salute to the fallen soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies. This moving ceremony, played by the buglers of the Ypres Fire Brigade, takes place every night at 8.00 PM sharp under the Menin Gate.