A Life Engaged

A.L.E. Beer Review: Belgium

Belgium is famous for four things in particular: waffles, chocolate, fries and beer. Our business today is beer, and let me tell you beer is taken seriously in Belgium. Drinking beer in Belgium is designed to be a social experience with most establishments serving small snacks to munch on while enjoying your beer with friends. We recommend a trip to Brussels if only to sample beer in the many fine establishments designed to do just that.

Belgium has many different styles of beer. First, we’ll start off with a quick introduction of the two more famous beer styles that are unique to Belgium. Then, we’ll go into the nitty gritty of our Belgian beer review.

Lambic and Gueze Beers

Dry and often sour, the Lambic production process of these beer styles is time consuming and difficult, keeping the style mainly in Belgium. Lambic refers to the style in which the beer is produced by a spontaneous fermentation process, giving the beer an aftertaste that makes your lips pucker. Gueze is an extension of the Lambic base as young and old Lambics are blended together to create a pale, dry and complex flavor.

Abbey Beers

‘Abbey beers’ is now a term that can be applied to beers brewed outside of a monastery but have similar qualities to a monastic-style beer. Dubbel and Tripel beers are the most common types of Abbey Ales.

‘Trappist’ is a term used to describe a beer that is brewed in a monastery where monks at least played some role in its production. One of the more famous Trappist breweries is Chimay, which we will review below.

 

Adelardus Brune

Adelardus

This abbey dubbel is dark brown with a slight fruity and herbal taste. One of the key ingredients as indicted by the brewery is “’sweet gale’, which is a mixture of ten spices from the region which gives the beer his typical flavor”. Overall, this beer was enjoyable, but not mind- blowing. We recommend trying this dubbel, but as is the case with most dubbels, we would not suggest sitting down with a six-pack.

Brewery: Brouwerij Kerkom

Brew: Abbey Dubbel

Origin: Sint-Truiden, Belgium

ABV: 7.0%

 

Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic

Cantillon_Kriek_100__Lambic

While guys and gals alike will enjoy this beer, girls will fawn over its fruity taste. It’s almost as if they took a bottle of sherry and turned it into a beer. The kriek has a very strong cherry flavor, but very drinkable. It’s a great choice for sipping whilst relaxing on a patio on a warm sunny day. The beer has a darkish red hue contrasted by a nice white foam on top. It gets better and better with every sip.

Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon

Brew: Kriek Lambic

Origin: Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium

ABV: 5.0%

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Chimay Blue

Chimay is one of the more popular Trappist beers and you are often able to find them in specialty bars in the US (often for around $9/bottle). The enjoyment of a Chimay Blue begins from the first rich smell as your mouth starts to water. This strong beer offers a fresh yeast and flowery aroma that makes you excited for the first taste. There is a perfect blend of roasted malt, sweet caramel, and light plum flavor. If you have one beer to try from Belgium, we highly suggest Chimay Grand Reserve.

Brewery: Chimay

Brew: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Origin: Baileux, Belgium

ABV: 9.0%

Duvel

Duvel

With a refreshing full flavor, Duvel was one of the most enjoyable beers to drink. The flavor is intense without being overpowering and also at a reasonable price. Be careful with Duvel because this is a beer you will want to drink all night, but the ABV is quite high. There are strong fruit and hop flavors that make Duvel stand out as a truly delicious beer.

Brewery: Duvel Moortgat

Brew: Belgian Strong Ale

Origin: Breendonk-Puurs, Belgium

ABV: 8.5%

 

Maes Pils

Maes Pils

Ah yes, Maes Pils. It almost seems shameful to include Maes Pils within our list of Belgium beers, but we would still like to represent the bargain drinks. Maes is the Natural Light of Belgium – easy to drink and easy to afford. We enjoyed quite a few Maes during our time in Belgium as a nice break from other flavorful and expensive beers. Our advice would be to alternate between delicious Trappist beers and Maes.

Brewery: Brouwerijen Alken-Maes (Heineken)

Brew: Pilsner

Origin: Alken Belgium

ABV: 5.2%

 

Rochefort Trappistes 10

Trappistes Rochefort

Stand back on this one. Take the intoxicating dried fruit flavors and aromas of Chimay and boost up the alcohol content and you will arrive at the Rochefort Trappistes 10. The texture is creamy and the flavor is intense with hints of chocolate, plum and raisins. This beer is truly enjoyable to drink and will have you making friends in no time.

Brewery: Brasserie Rochefort

Brew: Quadrupel

Origin: Rochefort, Belgium

ABV: 11.3%

 

Vedett Extra Ordinary IPA

Vedett

While IPA’s are not usually my first choice, the Vedett Extra Ordinary was a good drink. The brew has a light amber color and a surprisingly refreshing taste. There are tones of citrus and plum and overall is less bitter than a typical IPA.

Brewery: Duvel Moortgat

Brew: IPA

Origin: Breendonk-Puurs, Belgium

ABV: 6.0%


There are MANY more fantastic Belgian brews. It’s hard to pick just one from our Belgian beer review, but due to its rich flavor and powerful punch, our favorite is Rochefort Trappistes 10. Are you a Belgian beer fan? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.