Best Belgian Beers

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The beer-making history of Belgium goes back for centuries.  It is renowned all over the world for being one of the top beer countries.  There are over 700 Belgian beers for you to choose form, according to official estimates.  The most prized and rarest are revered as much as fine wine is.  It can be quite confusing with so many to choose from.  However, whether you are an amateur or seasoned beer drinker, your taste buds will be given a nice treat by these delicious brews.

 

 

Bush Beer (7.5% and 12%)

The claim is that the original version of this Wallonian speciality is Belgium’s strongest beer at 12%.  However, it really resembles a barley wine, with its earthy aroma and nice golden color.  The 7.5% Bush beer is a delicious pale ale that has a coriander zip to it.

Brugse Straffe Hendrik (Bruin 8.5%, Blond 6.5%)

Located in the heart of the Bruges, Straffe Hendrik is a small, smart brewery that produced refreshing and zippy ales.  The Bruin is a full-bodied classic brown ale, and the Blond is a tangy and light pale ale.

Chimay (blue top 9%, red top 7%)

Chimay beers are made in southern Belgium’s Forges-les-Chimay by Trappist monks.  These beers are considered by many to be some of the finest in the world.  They produce several brews, with the blue top and red top being the most readily available.  They have a deep body, are strong and fruity, and spicy with hints of thyme and nutmeg.

Belgian beer

La Chouffe (8%)

This distinctive beer is produced in the Ardennes.  It is recognized instantly by the gnome in the red hood (or chouffe) who appears on the label.  This refreshing pale ale has a peachy aftertaste and also has a hint of coriander.

Corsendonk Pater Noster (5.6%)

Jef Keersmaekers created this fine beer.  Out of the numerous Corsendonk brews, this one is easily the top pick.  This beer is well-known for its smoky bouquet and Burgundy-brown color.

Delirium Tremens (9%)

This spicy amber ale is Huyghe Brewery’s leading beer.

Gouden Carolus (8%)

Gouden Carolus is named after the favorite beverage of Charles V, the Habsburg emperor.  This dark brown ale is full-bodied and has a slightly fruity and sour aftertaste.  It is brewed in Mechelen, a Flemish town in the Antwerp province.

De Koninck (5%)

De Knock is the leading brewery in Antwerp and is considered to be a Flemish institution and way of life.  De Konick’s standard beer is a yellowish, smooth pale ale.  It tastes better on draft than it does out of a bottle.  It has a sharp aftertaste and is a very drinkable brew.

Gueuze (Cantillon Gueuze Lambic 5%)

The Gueuze is a kind of beer instead of an individual brew.  It is made through blending new and old lambic.  This fuels re-fermentation.  The end result is then bottle.  The process does make the Gueuze fuller bodied and a bit sweeter than lambic.  It can be hard to find a traditional Gueuze.  So you might have to opt for a more commercial and sweeter branch such as the Timmermans Gueuze (5.5%), Belle Vue Gueuze (5.2%) or the Lendemans Gueuze (5.2%), which is quite exemplary.

Hoegaarden (5%)

Hoegaarden is a leading Belgian wheat beer and named after a small Flemish town.  It is very refreshing and light, despite having a cloudy appearance.   The beer is brewed from equal portions of malted and wheat barley.  It’s the perfect hot summer day drink.  Wheat beers have a curious history.  They were very unpopular during the late 1950s.  In fact, they were facing extinction.  However, within twenty years, the new generation of beer drinkers had taken them up.  They are now very popular.  Hoegaarden is among the finest wheat beers.

Kriek (Mort Subite Kriek 4.3%, Belle Vue Kriek 5.2%, Cantillon Kriek Lambic 5%)

Kriek is also a type of beer and not a specific brew.  It is made with a base beer and cherries are added to it.  More commercial brands add sugar or cherry juice instead.  It comes in a corked bottle like a sparkling wine.  The finer ones have a wonderful taste and are not too sweet.  Kriek is probably the most successful of all the available fruit beers.

Kwak (8%)

Kwak is a Flemish beer made by a family-run brewery called Bosteels.  There is nothing particularly special about this brew.  It’s an amble ale that has a bit of sugar to sweeten it.  However, it is served in impressive style from a wooden stand with a distinctive hourglass.

Lambic (Lindemans Lambik 4%, Cantillon Lambik 5%)

Lambic bears are specifically from the Brussels area.  They are representative of one of the oldest styles of beer production in the world.  These are tart beers.  They are brewed with thirty percent raw wheat at least in addition to malted barley.  Using wild yeast as part of the production process is the key feature.  The process produces spontaneous fermentation where the yeast gravitates down to open wood casks during a two to three year period.  Draught lambic is an extremely rare brew.  In central Brussels it is served in La Becasse.  Bottled versions are frequently modified.  However, Cantillon Lambik is an excellent and authentic beverage that has a lemony zip to it.  The Cantillion brewery, located in Anderlecht, produces this beer.  This is also where the Gueuze Museum is located.  Lindemans Lambik is more commonplace but similar.

Leffe (Leffe Blond 6.6%, Leffe Brune 6.5%)

Leffe beer is brewed in Lueven.  It is a malty and strong beer that features two main varieties.  Leffe Brune is full-bodied, aromatic and dark.  It is quite popular, but for some tastes it is a little gassy.  Leffe Blond is fragrant and bright, with a slight orange flavor.

Orval (6.2%)

Orval is one of the most distinctive malt beers in the world.  It is made at Abbaye d’Orval in the Ardennes.  The abbey was founded by Benedictine monks hailing from Calabria during the twelfth century.  This beer is refreshingly bitter and has a nice amber color.  It makes an excellent aperitif.

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