Cycle, drink, write: Giro D’Italia & Westvleteren

This morning was the Giro D’Italia, tonight was beer heaven.

I’m in Sorrento, Italy right now on vacation. A place known for limoncello, olives and bufala mozzarella cheese. Not beer.

I spend my morning watching Wiggins and company do three loops through town before setting off to complete the balance of a 222 km Stage 3 campaign.

giro D'Italia stage 3 Sorrento Italy

Later in the day, having decided not to pursue a domestique position with Team Sky, I found myself wandering the back alley ways of Sorrento. And hark! I found a beer shop on the smallest alley way of them all. Apparently it’s the only dedicated beer shop in the peninsula, according to the proprietor. They had many high end Belgian and German beers but after looking around the shop carefully I could not find my holy grail, a Westvleteren.

Not wanting to give up so easily I asked about that fabled beer and, sure enough, from behind locked glass doors (on the bottom shelf in the shadows) the owner pulled out a small bottle of Westvleteren Abbey 12.

I immediately purchased it for €20.

I asked for a suitable Belgian style beer glass and drank the beer in the shop. It was: Delicious. Transcendent. Complex. Memorable. And many other adjectives as well.

The owner told me that the beer is aged for 12-15 months before drinking and I am now set on aging the copy-cat batch I brewed in January for that amount of time. Also, after tasting this I am convinced my clone beer is on the right track. It will just need some time for the sugars and alcohol to mellow a bit.

Anyway, thought I’d pass along the experience for my fellow cycling and beer lovers. If you’re in Sorrento looking for world-class beer visit La Bottega della Birra.

1 Comment

  1. Brad
    May 6, 2013

    First heard about that beer in this podcast: Jealous you got to try it!

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