I have many weaknesses, but it’s safe to say my love of the Trappist beers of Belgium ranks near the top of the list. I’ve slowly nurtured this enthusiasm during multiple trips to Europe over the past 15 years.

Drinking a cool Stift Engelszell, La Trappe or Rochefort at Cafe Gollem (est. 1974) in Amsterdam is such an unreserved pleasure that I’ve been known to work 7 days a week for months on end so I can plan out a week of imbibing the hard work of the monks of Austria, Holland and Belgium.

On a visit earlier this year, Gollem came through in a big way. Their buyers had made the trip to the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren! Beer lovers across the globe know these beers to stand at the top of the 1000s of breweries on earth.

Sitting at the ancient bar on Overtoom, slowly sipping a Westvleteren 12, is one of my favorite memories of 2012. Approached by my hunt for, and subsequent capture of the legendary Crna kraljica or Black Queen Porter of Zagreb, Croatia.

Behold my cache of Trappistes Rochefort, unearthed this very day after 13 months in my beer cellar. I’m hopeful that a special occasion is going to arise in the next month or so that will warrant cracking these open.

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