Belgium > Westvleteren
Travlr (1324) Washington, Washington DC | September 16, 2011
80 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 8/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD 7/10 VALUE 10/10 OVERALL 16/20
Hard to rate this place. It’s obviously a must-visit location for any beer geek worth his or her malt. How do you rate "selection" when they have just three of the world’s best beers which are now so difficult to get anywhere else? Judge for yourself - come here, sit on the patio on a sunny day (every day I have been to In De Vrede has been a sunny day), start with the blonde and a croque, then have an 8 and the ice cream made with the 12. You won’t be sorry.
3fourths (1270) Boulder, Colorado | June 4, 2008| Updated January 22, 2013
70 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 7/10 SELECTION 10/15 FOOD N/A VALUE N/A OVERALL 14/20
Read my thoughts on In de Vrede at http://mjames.hoppress.com/2009/03/10/one-day-in-belgium/
t0rin0 (1130) Do Not Resuscitate, California | October 5, 2013
82 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 7/10 SELECTION 13/15 FOOD N/A VALUE 6/10 OVERALL 17/20
Visited October 2012 with chinoskillzian and womencantsail.
This is the holy pilgrimage for all beer nerds (in an only slightly sacrilegious way) that everyone needs to experience once, possibly more often if you’re going to pick up cases of beer. The original plan was to stay at the St Bernardus inn and rent bicycles from them to ride to Westvleteren, Struise, and a few other places, but it was dumping rain. Luckily we had a perfectly good Ford Focus diesel rental car with built in navigation. Upon arriving I learned that In de Vrede is a bit more modern than I had expected. They also have a bit more merchandise than I would guessed. They serve snacks and of course the three beers. You can drink all the Westvleteren beer you can handle here. Naturally we ordered one of each and tried them all side by side. I learned that they don’t keg any of their beer, even for in house consumption. I also learned that they are not immune to infections. The blonde was funky. Seriously. It was actually quite delicious in it’s off state but I have never had a Westvleteren Blond that tasted like that. The 12 fresh was too boozy and not ready to be consumed. The 8 was very good as was the blond. To be honest I enjoyed the rural small town setting as much as the café, despite the fact that it was after tourist season so everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) was under construction.
One more thing that I will add, as a point of pride (because I called it), that after having the whole St Bernardus and Westvleteren lineups in the same day, Abt walks all over Westvleteren 12. No contest. Admittedly the Westy 8 is better than the Prior 8, but in terms of the big bad quad that everyone wants, just drink the St Bernardus that you can get at your local (better) liquor store.
brokensail (755) Orange County, California | October 6, 2012
84 AMBIANCE 5/5 SERVICE 9/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD N/A VALUE 7/10 OVERALL 16/20
Excellent cafe out in the countryside right near St. Sixtus. A great place to enjoy a few Westvleteren beers and perhaps a small snack. Always pretty crowded, but very quick service. The best prices you’ll find on the beers outside of buying crates at the brewery. The building itself is quite beautiful, particularly on the interior.
Rastacouere (651) Montreal, Quebec | November 7, 2011
66 AMBIANCE 2/5 SERVICE 6/10 SELECTION 11/15 FOOD 5/10 VALUE 6/10 OVERALL 14/20
The mythic Westvleteren café is going to be a disappointment for most people coming here as pilgrims. The Abbey itself is small, austere and closed to the public. The accessible café is contrastingly an improbable touristic attraction in the middle of the surrounding cabbage fields where the roads are too narrow for two cars to come in opposite directions. The café is actually huge, with ceilings several dozen feet high. Besides a patio area that can probably sit above a hundred, the cafeteria-like inside can probably sit above 200. In front, the garden/children-play area must certainly be popular in summer because the place was packed with young families and cyclists alike. The good news is that the beer is of course excellent. Fresh westys are actually quite hoppy, spicier and very fruity. The blonde was a particular hit for me. I’d bought a bottle in Brussels a few days before and found it quite disappointing. At the brewery café, it exploded with freshness, generous with hops and including a delicate, complex and enthralling tartness. A top 3 beer after spending 3 weeks in Belgium and visiting tons of great cafés. In terms of food, the menu is incredibly and illogically limited for such a large place that attracts so many. An insistence for simplicity I suppose, but you can only pick between a couple of sandwiches, salads and a few desserts, mostly ice cream. The small portions do not make a very sustainable meal despite and are not worth their price tag. The salads are simplistic and so are the sandwiches, though the pressed bread is tasty. As for the beers, at more than 4 euros a bottle, they are well worth their price tag of course, but the whole experience remains very expensive compared to the other Trappist cafés where varied menus and large servings at competitive prices are the norm. All in all, it’s a place to visit once if you have the chance, but you should not worry about missing anything until you have been.
Theydon_Bois (534) The ’Sham, England | October 24, 2012
72 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 8/10 SELECTION 9/15 FOOD 8/10 VALUE 8/10 OVERALL 15/20
Visited on SAturday 20th October at 1.45 pm and managed to bag one of the few spare tables.
The place was pretty packed, a fair number of US tourists and a number of Dutch, French and Belgians judgeing from the accents and the car stickers in the car park.
Service was pretty good despite it being busy, our beers came 2 or so minutes and our food after about 10.
Excellent pate with bread and salad.
No beers available to take away on this visit as I’m aware bricks are sometimes available.
Well worth popping buy if you’re in the area. Cost was E4.70 for a 10 and E4.20 for an 8. Didn’t have the Blonde whilst we were there.
GT2 (517) Carlsbad, California | March 17, 2010
88 AMBIANCE 5/5 SERVICE 9/10 SELECTION 15/15 FOOD 7/10 VALUE 8/10 OVERALL 15/20
Very modern, sleek, stylish. Service was excellent, food was very good, and the beer selection- well they only had three- but who cares because you can’t find those three beers practically anywhere. The blonde especially. The Westy ice cream kicks butt too!
fiulijn (500) Vancouver, British Columbia | October 3, 2005
72 AMBIANCE 3/5 SERVICE 5/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD 6/10 VALUE N/A OVERALL 16/20
A paradox, such a useless bar, such a necessary bar...
Fin (465) Merton, Oxfordshire, England, England | June 23, 2009
54 AMBIANCE 3/5 SERVICE 6/10 SELECTION 6/15 FOOD N/A VALUE 7/10 OVERALL 12/20
Have been here a couple of times now and both via pleasant cycle rides through the West Flanders countryside form Ypres (Ieper) a couple of years ago and most recently 10-06-09 from Kemmel. The cafe I once amusingly heard descibed by a fellow UK rater as being like a Ski Chalet, he was right, ironic that then that it is in such a flat area. It’s rather clinical and lacking in atmosphere unfortunately but the beers are what you’re here for and at prices ranging between 3-4 Euro’s as I recall quite reasonable for such top class beverages. It’s worth popping by here just to try the beers but then nip off to a proper beer cafe somewhere after for a real Belgian Cafe and beer experience.
KyotoLefty (431) Kyoto, Japan | September 15, 2009
78 AMBIANCE 3/5 SERVICE 8/10 SELECTION 10/15 FOOD 8/10 VALUE N/A OVERALL 18/20
It’s hard to say anything bad about this place. Sure, the food is limited and they only have three beers...got a six pack to go at ridiculously low prices, and had 2 of each beer in the hall, plus a last blonde as a night cap. Honestly, I felt I could have sat there forever. Hard as hell to get to, but hey, it’s a fairytale environment. The 12 seemed to need a little more age.
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