Welcome to PW's 50-Beer Countdown to Philly Beer Week! Every day from now through the Opening Tap ceremonies on May 31, we'll be getting in the mood by spotlighting a different great craft brew that's been poured by one or more Philly Beer Week participating venues.
The funny little man on the label is goofy enough so that many people don’t realize this beer is quietly one of the world’s best. Brewed by the folks who used to brew the elusive Westvleteren XII, a beer considered by many the holy grail of the beer world – aside from a highly limited release last year that sold out in minutes, you can only get Westy 12 at the Westvleteren abbey in Belgium, you must call ahead to reserve some, and you are limited in how much you can buy – St. Bernardus ABT 12 is every bit the equal of that famed brew. Appropriately enough, given its Trappist influence, it’s a near religious experience to drink a perfect pour of this heady beverage. It’s 10.5 percent ABV, but you’d never notice because it’s all smooth, dark fruits and chocolate and figs and spice and Belgian yeast. Top shelf by any measure. St. Bernardus ABT 12 is often available at The Belgian Café, Monk’s and other establishments specializing in Belgian beers.