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BeerAdvocate announced that fans of Trappist ales (beers produced by the seven breweries affiliated with Trappist monasteries) will soon have a good reason to celebrate: The Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren, producers of the famed Westvleteren 12 ale, will begin to appear on US shelves in April of 2012. The abbey is shipping cross-continental in an effort to help raise money to fund a planned expansion and make much-needed repairs to their existing buildings.
The brews will be imported by Shelton Brothers Importers of Belchertown, Mass., and at least one other importer, Manneken-Brusel Imports of Austin, Texas. Pricing is still being finalized, though it is certain to be less than the hundreds of dollars some beer fans have been paying via online auction sites.
Westvleteren is still a very small-scale operation, as the brewery operates only as a means to support the abbey, and not to generate profits. In 2010, they produced roughly 3,800 barrels. Westvleteren plans to release the brews in special gift sets, which include six bottles and two glasses. Shelton Brothers will distribute 7,760 of these packages, but specific destinations are still to be determined.
Check out the brewery photos below by a Beer Advocate member who was one the lucky few to hang out with the monks: