Belgium is renowned for its beer. With more than 1,400 breweries, the country has a rich beer culture that dates back centuries. From classic Trappist ales to contemporary craft beers, Belgian beer styles encompass a wide range of flavors and aromas. This comprehensive guide will explore the different Belgian beer styles and provide an overview of their unique characteristics.
Trappist ales are brewed by monks in monasteries and are some of the most sought-after beers in the world. These ales are usually high in alcohol content and have a complex flavor profile. Trappist ales are typically bottle-conditioned, meaning that they are fermented a second time in the bottle, giving them a distinct flavor and aroma. Common Trappist styles include Dubbel, Tripel, and Quadrupel.
Abbey ales are beers that are brewed in a similar style to Trappist ales, but are not produced in a monastery. These beers usually have a higher alcohol content than traditional Belgian ales and are often bottle-conditioned. Common Abbey styles include Dubbel, Tripel, and Blonde.
Saisons are light, refreshing ales that were traditionally brewed in the winter and stored in the summer. These beers have a fruity, spicy flavor and are usually quite high in alcohol content. Common saison styles include Saison Dupont, Saison de Bruges, and Saison de Maredsous.
Lambics are unique beers that are spontaneously fermented with wild yeast and bacteria. These beers have a sour, tart flavor and can be quite sour. Common lambic styles include Gueuze, Faro, and Framboise.
Belgian blondes are light, crisp ales with a subtle hop character. These beers have a slightly sweet flavor and are usually low in alcohol content. Common Belgian blonde styles include Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde, and Grimbergen Blonde.
Belgian reds are dark, malty ales with a sweet, caramel flavor. These beers are usually high in alcohol content and have a slight bitterness. Common Belgian red styles include Rodenbach, De Koninck, and Maredsous 8.
Belgian whites are light, refreshing ales that are brewed with wheat and spices. These beers have a citrusy, spicy flavor and are usually low in alcohol content. Common Belgian white styles include Hoegaarden, Blanche de Bruxelles, and Wittekerke.
Belgian Strong Ales
Belgian strong ales are dark, malty ales that are high in alcohol content. These beers have a sweet, caramel flavor and can be quite bitter. Common Belgian strong ale styles include Duvel, La Chouffe, and Delirium Tremens.
Belgian IPAs are hoppy ales that are brewed with Belgian yeast. These beers have a fruity, spicy flavor and are usually high in alcohol content. Common Belgian IPA styles include De Ranke XX Bitter, St. Bernardus Abt 12, and La Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel.
Belgian Dark Ales
Belgian dark ales are dark, malty ales that are brewed with roasted malts. These beers have a sweet, caramel flavor and are usually high in alcohol content. Common Belgian dark ale styles include Chimay Grand Reserve, Westmalle Dubbel, and Delirium Nocturnum.
Belgian Fruit Beers
Belgian fruit beers are light, refreshing ales that are brewed with fruit. These beers have a sweet, tart flavor and are usually low in alcohol content. Common Belgian fruit beer styles include Lindemans Framboise, Kriek, and Pecheresse.
By exploring the different Belgian beer styles, you can discover a wide range of unique flavors and aromas. Whether you’re a fan of Trappist ales or Belgian IPAs, there is something for everyone in the world of Belgian beer.