GTG Extra! : Brussels Countdown 

A Special Daily Supplement from

 The Grey Town Gazette 
Seven Days : Seven Beers : Seven Reasons to Live
Fri 27th Aug 2010
T minus 4
and counting...

Wish you were there?
Heaven's Door

Its that time of year again: the time when the devout don their drinking boots, pack their beer resistant clothing, dig out  last year's surplus bottle tops*, pick up some bulk packs of aspirin and head off on the annual pilgrimage to the Brussels Beer Weekend.
Organized by the internationally renowned  the trip -  like any worthwhile challenge - is sometimes arduous, often hazy, but always a fulfilling experience allowing true aficionados to connect with their beer induced spiritual side.
The GTG is keen to support cultural events and our reporters will be there on the ground, reporting from the frontline.
Countdown Reviews
To help those of you who are making the trip get in the mood and as a general celebration of the event, we're publishing a special series of  7 daily bulletins featuring reviews of our favourite beverages and bars. Who knows, perhaps we might also entice those who aren't joining us this time to make the effort next year!
But its not just about Belgium. All serious athletes know its essential to follow a disciplined and balanced training regime ahead of major events and so this year's programme includes expert designed warm up excursions to Amsterdam and Antwerp.
The Beer Weekend itself starts Friday 3rd September.
We can't possibly cover all of the worthy beverages in seven bulletins, but we hope these little tasters help wet the appetite and get the heart pounding.
* those in the know, know... those who don't, need to find out!
 Beers of the Day 
 Westvleteren Blond & 12
 God's best byproduct
Double Trouble 
Seek and ye shall find
Vital Statistics
Brewer:                        The Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren
Style:                            Blond - the clue is in the name 
                                      12 - dark, bottle conditioned 
Strength:                      5.8% ABV (6) 10.2% (12) 
AI Value:*                   6, 12
Killer App:                   Turns grown men into Quantum Physicists
Medicinal Qualities:   The Blond raises the dead; the 12 puts them back to bed 
Tasting notes:             Too much is not enough, its over too soon
Grey Scale Rating:**  Platinum 
* AI, or Alcoholic Index is a key parameter in the temporal equation defining  (perceived) Drink Time. Ref. Alcohol Induced Time Dilation Effect, 'Quantum Qorner' GTG Dec 2009 
** The official GTG product review Grey Scale ratings:
Coal (pants)  Charcoal (bearable)  Gravel (average)  Ash (good)  Platinum (ace)
Time to go? 
time for just 4 more...
One more for the road
In This Issue
Beers of the Day
Vital Statistics
Brew Basics
Watering Hole: Recommended Bar
Brew Basics 
Harder to find than WMD and far more potent, the Westvleteren beers have attained cult status. Many say they are the best beers in the world, no less. Perhaps. But there is no doubt they posses an almost supernatural power to bend perceptions of time, space and logic.


The Westvleteren Brewery (Brouwerij Westvleteren) is located at the Trappist abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren not far from Poperinge and Ypres. 

What's so special?


Quality. And rarity. Brewing volumes are small. The abbey also doesn't allow anyone else to resell their beers. This undoubtedly adds to their aura of mystery and exclusivity and probably contributes to their cult status.
That's not to say they are not exceptionally fine, in particular the awesome 12, which has been in production since 1940 and the lighter and relatively new Blond dating from 1999.
Attendees at the Brussels Beer Weekend should have an opportunity to enjoy the Blond and perhaps the 8 (another, less strong, dark beer). Based on previous experience its unlikely any 12s will be available.
What makes a Trappist beer?  
(a recap for new readers)
Essentially, to be called Trappist the beers must be brewed within the boundaries of the monastery or under the direct supervision of the monks. The brewery also has to be run with  a monastic ethos and any profits over and above those needed to run the monastery must be used for charitable and social causes.

Its good to know that with every sip you are helping a worthy cause. 

There are seven Trappist breweries, six in Belgium (Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren and Westmalle) and one in the Netherlands (La Trappe).

More info:  Abbey of Saint Sixtus
Watering Hole  
Practically the only place to enjoy today's featured beverage* 
Prettier than the cafe
Abbey of St Sixtus
St Sixtus - practical physics at its best
Due to the Abbey's non-distribution policy the only place you can drink their beers in any reasonable quantity at sensible prices is to visit their own beer-shop-cum-cafe, across the lane from the abbey.
Although not an ugly building, its aura is more 'motorway service station' or 'airport lounge' than 'homely hostelry'. 
But weather permitting you can sit outside and speculate over what might be lurking in the nearby hop fields. Alternatively, you can sit inside and speculate over what might be the cause behind the staff's rosy red faces...
Whatever, its all about the beer, not the venue. A typical drinking session might start with general exclamations of joy and euphoria at the first sips. Then after 3 or 4 glasses things move onto a more serious debate about the relative merits of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd ....and Doris Day. And whether or not the Skim will ever again be a decent pub. After six or seven you break through the quantum barrier and in a state of unparalleled enlightenment everybody talks simultaneously at anyone and everyone they think might listen, including themselves, on life the universe and everything. And cranes. 
As the number of beers downed increases so time shrinks and in a desperate attempt to compensate you will be compelled to start doubling up on the orders, until reaching the quantum singularity at the end of the session (ie. when the cab driver is no longer willing to wait) you find yourselves doubling up on the double-up and having to down 4 beers instantaneously.
Even after leaving the quantum phenomena continue - this time in the form of Einstein's 'spooky action at a distance' - which mysteriously causes your mobile phone bill to grow in exact proportion to the number of 12s you drank.
Finally (and hopefully) back at your hotel, following Newton's unpublished 4th law of motion - 'for every action there is an equal and opposite inaction' - 12 hours spent travelling to and from and drinking at St Sixtus is always followed by at least 12 hours of unconsciousness, whether or not you appear to be awake.

The Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren, Donkerstraat 12, B -8640 Westvleteren

* attendees at the Brussels Beer Weekend should have an opportunity to enjoy the 6, or Blond, and perhaps some 8s. Based on previous experience its unlikely any 12s will be available.
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Small print:
Copyright August 2010 The Ministry of Light.
All Rights Reserved etc.
The Grey Town Gazette is published by The Ministry of Light, a division of Borg International Ltd, London.
The Grey Town Gazette is published in good faith. The accuracy of the stories is questionable and is certainly not guaranteed. If you think any are true we respectfully suggest you consider therapy. Any reference to persons living or dead is unintentional and purely coincidental.
Product and venue reviews are purely subjective and reflect the views of the reviewer(s). Product and supplier details are based on published sources and not guaranteed to be correct. 
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