Belgian Monks Sell Rare Beer to Americans to Fund New Roof

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It’s been called the best beer in the world, the holy grail of hops.

It’s brewed by monks in a remote location in Belgium and it’s only for sale to those who travel to the place where its brewed and make a special reservation (at a phone number that rarely gets answered) — until now.

For a limited time, Westvleteren 12, 8 and Blonde will go on sale in the U.S. (and a few other select countries). These Trappist beers brewed at Saint Sixtus Abbey in Belgium won’t come cheap, though — they’ll sell for US$84.99 for a six-pack (that’s over $14 a beer).

Why the change of heart — and sales strategy — for these reclusive monks? It turns out that they need to do a little renovating at their abbey and they need an influx of cash to fund it. Specifically, they need a new roof.

The monks purposefully live a reclusive, puritanical lifestyle devoid of many possessions. They wake up at 3 a.m. every day and begin praying. In between prayer sessions, they paint, garden and brew beer.

This lifestyle makes earning money pretty difficult, as you can imagine. Every year, the monks brew only 3,800 barrels of beer — just enough to earn the money they need to sustain their abbey. They were reluctant to export their beer overseas for this promotion, but agreed when it became clear that it was the best way to earn the money they need.

It sounds like a win-win scenario. American beer fans will get the chance to taste of the best brews on the planet, without the need to travel across said planet (though the Belgian countryside is beautiful and worth the trip) and the monks will get to stay dry.

The monks revealed through a spokesperson that they plan to return to their old model of only selling beer locally after they’ve raised enough money to renovate their abbey.

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