In mid-December, the beer went on sale ‘widely’ in the U.S. for the first time ever as well as Canada and a few other markets. Earlier in the year, it went on sale outside of the abbey in some locations around Belgium and France.
Some beer drinkers have posed the idea that its availability outside of the abbey for the first time on such a wide scale could mean that it loses a superficial boost to its rating. Because the beer was released so late in the year, we may not know for sure until next year’s awards though the 100+ ratings it has received over the past several weeks appear to be reinforcing the 2,300+ ratings that came before them.
Westvleteren XII maintains a dominant lead in the top 50 all-time list which is available to peruse year-round. The beer has finished in the top spot on the annual list several times and has finished in the top three spots for the past eight consecutive years. RateBeer started tracking top beers annually in 2005.
In other news, Russian River Pliny the Elder rose to the second spot and took the title of ‘Best Beer in North America.’ In third place right behind it was Russian River Pliny the Younger. Younger is released annually on a limited basis while Pliny the Elder is available year-round though also on a limited basis.
Bell’s Brewery also had two beers among the top ten with Hopslam and Black Note Stout.
RateBeer is in the midst of a week-long announcement of winning brewers, beers and trade members across a number of categories. Expect a couple more posts over the next 24-48 hours regarding other winners.