St. Sixtus

Tuesday afternoon held special promise as we checked into the Brouwershaus Inn at the brewery of St. Bernardus. And while a special tour of the St. Bernardus brewery was planned the next day, this afternoon 2 bikes and a map were waiting to help us wind our way through the Flanders' fields that hide away the smallest of the Trappist breweries, St. Sixtus, and their elusive Westvletern beers. We biked our way through a countryside dappled with brown cows and hop fields until we turned onto a lane that revealed in the distance a peaceful and rustic Monastery. And while you cannot visit the brewery which is on the abbey grounds, the monks have set up a small cafe next door where pilgrims can sample and purchase their amazing beers. A serene setting, a nice sampling of the Blonde and the infamous Westvleteren 12 made for a fantastical day and an unusually light ride back to the inn, where we would enjoy some St. Bernardus selections before retiring in serenity for the night. A glimpse into the making of one of my most favorite and inspiring beers awaited the next day.