Belgian Monks Balance Brewing and Benediction

'Insatiable' thirst complicates simple life
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 29, 2007 6:42 PM CST
St. Sixtus' monks limit purchases to two cases a month to devoted customers; you won't see ads for the beer or labels on its bottles; and sales occur by appointment only at the monastery gates.    (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – A Belgian monastery is struggling to balance the growing global craving for Westvleteren, the "holy grail of beers," with its devout way of life, the Wall Street Journal reports. Customers are limited to two cases per month of the St. Sixtus brew, which the monks neither label nor advertise. "We sell beer to live, and not vice versa," the brewmaster says.

Two American beer websites rank the Westvleteren beer known as "the 12" as the best in the world, but its scarcity has bars assigning $15 price tags to the 11-ounce bottles. But profit is not the goal for the 26 monks behind the brew, whose production has not expanded since 1946 even as demand has exploded.