Many beer aficionados view Belgium as the fatherland of beer. No other country has such a versatile range of local beer styles. Forget about the regular, omnipresent lagers: the Belgian beer paradise is full of unexpected surprises and heavenly delights, with beers to suit anyone and everyone’s taste! But how do you find your way in this labyrinth? We invite you to be guided to find a Belgian beer which you will love and, because great beer is best when shared with someone special, all these beers are available in 75cl ‘sharing’ bottles. Are you ready for your beer adventure?”
I’m not sure if I like beer – it’s too bitter, to my taste.
The bitterness in beer is mostly due to the hops or dark malts used. No problem if you don’t fancy that: many Belgian beers have hardly any bitter notes.
JAN DE LICHTE 75 cl.
A gentle beer, very low in bitterness and with enticing notes of citrus and soft spices.
OUDE KRIEK BOON 75 cl.
A beer made with real fruit (sour cherries). The taste is very natural and complex, with a distinctly tart touch.
I am more into wine – are there beers with vinous qualities?
Sure there are! But we must warn you: you’re on the edge of taking a walk on the wild side. Airborne and barrel-resident micro-organisms (wild yeast, lactic and acetic bacteria, …) play an important role in the long fermentation process, which can take several years.
OUDE GEUZE BOON 75 cl.
A spontaneously fermented beer. Complex, with sour and fruity notes (citrus, green apple) and a touch of oak.
RODENBACH GRAND CRU 75 cl.
A blend of young and barrel aged beer. Sweet and sour at the same time, with a great deal of wood and fruitiness.
I’m fond of hops for their bitterness and aromas.
Hoppy beers (often called IPAs or Indian Pale Ales) are very popular in today’s craft beer scene. IPA is not a traditional Belgian beer style, of course, but many Belgian brewers make excellent versions and variations on it.
DE RANKE XX BITTER 75 cl.
A hoppy beer with an intense, long-lasting and distinctly hoppy taste. Resinous and grassy, with hints of grapefruit and pepper.
TROUBADOUR MAGMA 75 cl.
A beer with a pronounced bitterness, balanced with some sweetness and softened by notes of citrus and tropical fruits.
I have a taste for a strong, warming and somewhat sweet beers.
If you are someone who fancies a solid ‘winter warmer’ in any season, you’ve come to the right place!
STRAFFE HENDRIK QUADRUPEL 75 cl.
With a whopping 11% ABV, this is a rich beer, full in taste and dark in colour. The aroma is elegant, spicy and slightly roasted, with notes of dried black fruits. An ideal dessert beer which can be perfectly be paired with fine Belgian chocolate!
GOUDEN CAROLUS CUVÉE VAN DE KEIZER WHISKY INFUSED 75 cl.
A full-bodied, dark ale, enriched by an infusion of whisky, produced in the brewery’s own distillery. The result is a powerful (11.7%) and unique beer with subtle touches of vanilla, oak and chocolate. An imperial brew to savour and enjoy.
I would go for a complex dark ale, reflecting Belgium’s monastic brewing traditions.
Monastic brewing was widely spread in Central and Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. Nowhere did these traditions survive as strong as in Belgium, where six abbeys of the Trappist order still brew on their premises, while dozens of other breweries are inspired by and often connected to monasteries, mainly of the Norbertine, Cistercian and Benedictan order. Abbey beers come in different styles and colours, but the dark ones have a special, distinct status for those who like them.
ST BERNARDUS ABT 75 cl.
A complex abbey beer, dominated by soft aromas of dried fruits (raisins, figs, dates, prunes), with a mild, rounded taste and a long, bittersweet finish.
WESTMALLE DUBBEL 75 cl.
A dark red-brown beer with a rich taste, with touches of caramel, malt and a fruitiness reminiscent of red apple and ripe banana. A mild Trappist beer with a long, dry finish.
How about beers which could be described as being “typically Belgian?”
A typical Belgian beer? You give us a hard time, with so many options to choose from! Anyway, the two options below both reflect why Belgian beers have such an outstanding reputation: complexity, balance and drinkability.
WESTMALLE TRIPEL 75 cl.
With sweetness, bitterness and fruitiness contributing equally to the taste profile, this beer is the champion of balance.
SAISON D’ERPE-MERE 75 cl.
Refined version of a traditional farmhouse beer style. A dry and complex beer, with notes of hay, lemon and pears, which can work excellent as an aperitif.