A Perfect Guide To The Belgian Beer Styles
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Belgium is one of the most creative producers of beer in the world. There is no other country that offers a wide variety of beers. From Farmhouse ales, complex Lambics to simple Witbiers, Belgian Beers are ruling the world.
Belgian Beers are not just available in vast quantities but also have large diversity, vast quality and cultural importance. The beer, which got its name from the country, seems to have an interesting history and character independent of any other ales available in the neighbourhood.
To know about the Belgian beer in detail, let's know about its history first:
History of the Belgian Beer
Beer production in Belgium started back in the twelfth century. At that time, brewing was the affairs of monks as they settled the facilities in their own abbeys for their sustenance. They were free to use any ingredient or experiment with any fermentation technique as per their choice.
Belgian beer was normally made with a herbal mixture called gruit or Dutch beer during the middle ages. However, there were certain monasteries that were exempt from buying the gruit. Rather than some of the monks discovered that hops provide more quality as compared to the gruit. With time, the brewers of east Belgium started to use hops and brewers of west Belgium worked on acidification to enhance the shelf life. As a result, now Belgian beer is available in a number of tastes and styles that don't match with any other.
Belgium stands out among the beer-producing nations when it comes to Fermentation. It uses the below-mentioned technique for brewing beer:
- Cool Fermentation (for larger production)
- Mixed Fermentation (used for Flanders red ale)
- Warm Fermentation (used for Trappist ales)
- Spontaneous Fermentation (used for producing lambic beers)
Belgian Beer Styles
The Belgian beer is intensely local, traditional, full of flavor, and it will traverse your taste buds. Either it's the Wallonian Saisons or Flemish lambics, it will make you experience a new taste. There is no other country that produces a large variety of Belgian style beers and uses different fermentation types as Belgium.
Here's a glimpse of the Belgian style beers that dictates the country's brewing powerhouse:
Perhaps, Belgium is the home of the most wonderful and weirdest of beer styles, and Geuze is one of them. Geuze is produced on a lambic base. Lambic Beer is different from other beers as its Fermentation does not take place in a closed container. Instead of this, this lambic beer ferments in the open by reacting with airborne yeast produced in the Pajottenland area.
It is a specific type of lambic beer, which consists of a perfect blend of old lambic and young lambic. The mixture of these two encourages a secondary fermentation which leads to a wild taste. This bubbly beer has a quality similar to champagnes, with a perfect balance between a dry finish and tart fruit. Each and every brewery of Belgium manufactures their own Belgian beer glass to serve this amazing ale.
Some of the famous gueuze beers involves:
- Cuvée Saint-Gilloise by Cantillon
- Oude Gueuze à l’Ancienne by Gueuzerie Tilquin
- Oude Geuze by Geuzestekerij De Cam
- Oude Geuze by 3 Fonteinen
Trappist Beer is among the popular high fermentation beers. Around six Trappist breweries are situated in Belgium. There are some particular regulations for the breweries to use a Trappist name for the beers. The interesting fact about Trappist Beer is that its brewing must be done under the supervision of the monks' community.
The bottle of Authentic Trappist beer features an 'Authentic Trappist Product' logo which ensures that it was brewed within the boundaries of the Cistercian abbey. Trappist beer generally contains high amounts of alcohol and has rich aromas. Herbs are also added to provide the characteristic taste to this beer. Mostly you will find Trappist beer in a tripel, Dubbel, and blond varieties.
All variants of Trappist beer are signs of origin and have differences when it comes to taste, aroma, colour, and alcohol content.
Saison Beers are among the Best Belgian beer styles and are quite heavy, sparkly, and orange in colour. It features a beautiful froth collar due to its refermentation in the bottle. These beers have a little fruity aroma. It contains around 5% to 6.5% alcohol content and has a golden colour which makes this beer style recognizable.
Moreover, it has a wild yeast element that makes these beers sour. Hard mineral water is used to enhance the hoppy character. The main fermentation process takes place in a warm room by adding more hops.
The Fermentation, which takes place inside the bottle, provides these beers with an exciting and refreshing taste.
Belgian Fruit Beer
The traditional Belgian fruit beer is produced with sour morello cherries. Kricken beer has all the features of an Oude geuze, which complements the beer with an aromatic and fruity taste. Belgian fruit beers are the ones that can't be beaten by other varieties. It has a large number of variants which includes peach beer, strawberry beer, raspberry beer, and some other fancy fruit concoctions. Each variant of Belgian fruit beer has exploded with the flavors that you should not miss.
Besides these, there are some other Belgian beer styles which are listed below:
- Oud Bruin
- Pils/ Pilsener
- Red Beers
- Strong Blond
- Wheat beer, and more
Belgian Beer Brands
Some of the popular Belgian beer brands that are loved by everyone are as follows:
- Westmalle Trappist tripel
- La Chouffe blond ale
- Liefmans kriek brut
- Duvel tripel hop citra
- Kazematten the wipers times blond ale
If you want to enjoy the perfect authentic taste of beer, then you must try the whole range of Belgian beer. Belgian beer has a huge range which includes Belgian wheat beers, Belgian fruit beers, and so on. No matter what is your taste, you will find a flavour as per your choice. You can pick your own favorite from the entire range of Belgian beers. Shop yours and enjoy!