Well, the world did not end yesterday . . . even though I waited patiently for its demise, but, it did mark something that had never happened before. For a brief time, Westvleteren 12—a rare Belgian beer made by the monks at Saint Sixtus Abbey released their offering to beer connoisseurs in the United States. This brief—and many say one-time offering—was seen as a blessing who believe this to be the best in the world. There wasn’t much divine about its release, the abbey needed a new roof and selling their beer was the quickest way to raise the funds. Though often misquoted as having been said by Ben Franklin—“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”—I doubt if the beer lovers of the United States or the monks of the abbey are going to disagree. It seems to be a win-win situation for both sides.
But I wouldn’t know. The closest retailer selling the so-called heavenly brew was located in Colorado, California, or Minnesota. That a little drive for those of us in Montana! Plus, I don’t know if I could have afforded the brew to begin with . . . about $85.00 per six pack! That is a lot of Budweiser! For that price I could get at least ten growlers of Red Lodge Ales best brews! Eighty-five dollars and one would get a six pack and two drinking glasses. I imagine that the beer sold out quickly and that the first bottle was opened within minutes of being purchased . . . that is one expensive drunk!
God must be involved. The monks needed a new roof for the abbey. Have you priced a roof lately? Especially one on an ancient abbey? We are talking a few dollars here . . . we are talking big bucks. So the monks got together over a few beers in the abbey pub—I mean, the monks got together for a little prayer and discernment, and decided that they had something that everyone else wanted—BEER. Supposedly the world’s best beer and people—especially beer connoisseurs—would be willing to pay any price to get this brew in their refrigerators. One of the monks—brother Brewster, I believe—said, “Let’s sell our beer . . . we can always make more!” It was a divine intervention.
Actually, many believe that this is nothing short of a miracle. Since 1945, the monks have brewed the same amount of beer every year: 3,800 U.S. barrels. This was exactly the amount the monks needed to sustain the abbey. The sale of this beer was tightly controlled and typically only sold on the premises of the abbey. According to those who have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to taste the beer, it would have been easier to find the mythical Holy Grail. This was divine intervention or just good ol’ supply and demand. Either way, it seems that everyone involved is happy.
Whether Ben Franklin said it or not, this has got to be proof that God likes us to be happy. The Spirit moves in strange and mysterious ways . . . sometimes through the holy presence, sometimes through a bottle . . . this is definitely a case of the Spirit moving.
In the end, I guess I am not too disappointed that I was not able to be a part of this miracle. It was a costly miracle at a little over $14.00 a bottle. I mean WalMart was selling Shock Top at $15.00 for a twelve pack. Those who know me well would agree that I would never spend $14.00 for a bottle of beer no matter how good it was. Shoot! If I bought a $14.00 bottle of beer I would have to keep it in a sacred place in the refrigerator . . . or I would have to frame it, but never, ever, would I guff it down! This is holy beer!
Yet, for those who got to experience the joy of having a Westvleteren 12 . . . who got to be a part of the miracle . . . good for you. God has blessed you. You have come to see God and God is in the beer . . . isn’t that what a miracle is—the revelation of God? Yep, the world did not end yesterday, but a miracle happened. The monks got a new roof, Americans got to experience the world’s best beer, and everyone was happy. Whoever said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”, got it right. The world did not end, but God was revealed. I know because I saw God in the bottom of my beer glass. Ah, the Spirit moves . . .