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Total Wine's exclusive Westvleteren XII Trappist Belgian ale

If you are a Belgian-style beer enthusiast, this week is like Festivus for you. Wednesday, Dec. 12, Total Wine stores throughout South Florida are releasing a one-time gift set from the Trappist Westvleteren Abbey, one of six original Belgian Trappist breweries.

Trappist monasteries produce some of the top-ranked beers in the world, according to multiple beer critics and rating sites, such as The correlation lies in the time monks can spend perfecting any craft, because their lives of discipline allow them plenty of downtime, and because beer was safer to drink than water in the old days, so its production became a major interest in the Trappist order.

Westvleteren XII, the Belgian quadruple to be sold in six-bottle sets with two tasting goblets, is considered the best beer in the world by said ratings. It has never been legally available in the U.S.

Rob Hill, Total Wine's new programs manager and a certified cicerone, says each store will receive a limited amount of gift sets depending on regional beer sales. Although he wouldn't specify -- nor estimate -- the quantity, it's sure to be a relatively small amount considering the interest in the rare brew.

When the retailer announced the release of the quad in Total Wine's blog, beer bloggers throughout the country began closely following the store's updates, and reported that some locations in Georgia were selling the gift sets early. (,

The claims caused interested customers to anger, claiming it was unfair to those who thought they had until Dec. 12 to run out and purchase the $84.99 six-pack.

Hill did not comment on allegations of early sales, and reinstated the official release date for Westvleteren XII gift packs is this Wednesday.

Belgians are some of my favorite beers. I'm going to do what I can to get my hands on one of TW's coveted sixers, and word on the street is local stores are already receiving customer phone calls about the stuff, so you should get to your preferred location early tomorrow if you hope to snab one.

Here is the email Total Wine sent to subscribers this morning.

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