Belgians love with beer is so profound that some aficionados even drink beer for breakfast with cold cuts and crusty country bread.
In this small country several hundred breweries produce an amazing amount and range of beer; form lagers to ales to fruit-flavoured beer, and monastery brews.
Belgians appreciate their beers and are on of the few nations in the world whose per capita beer consumption is always one of the top three on consumption charts.
Not only do they enjoy a glass of beer before they go work but they also want it on the special glass that particular brand must be served. You can imagine how many different glasses a pub has.
One can safely say beer is to Belgians what wine is to the French or Italians.
This small north European county inhabited by Walloons and Flemish has two official languages. Walloons speak French and their part of Belgium is close to France, Flemish inhabit the north and speak Flemish, a mixture of Dutch, German and French.
Walloon beers embody refreshingly fresh rural flavours. Flemish brews are better known in export markets and tend to be more sophisticated and refined.
Belgian breweries are known for their light lagers, extra heavy ales, and unique flavoured beers called lambic. Lambic are infused with cherries, or strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or mangoesm and occasionally with a blend of several compatible fruits. They are surprisingly refreshing, and always well received by those who prefer fruity alcoholic beverages.
One of the largest brewing organizations of the world Interbrew is headquarters in Belgium, and owns Labatt’s breweries among many others in the world.
Yet the vast majority of Belgian breweries are small family operated businesses that cater to the community and occasionally to some parts of the country; they seldom export.
Some of the better Walloon breweries are: Brasserie du Bocq (ales, wheat beer); Brasserie La Caracole (famous for its unfiltered and un-pasteurized beers); Brasserie Val de Sambre (strong beers eight per cent ABV); Brasserie de Silly (fruit-flavoured geuze beers); Brasserie Cantillon (geuze beers).
Belgian monastery-brewed beers enjoy a worldwide reputation. Monks for their own consumption originally brewed them. Since monks were chemistry-savvy, had ample time on their hands, and the luxury of time they created exquisite beers. They enjoyed their beers. Over time and in need of funds to maintain their monasteries, they were more or less forced; to offer their beers for sale and so gained a huge following.
The rules governing Trappist beers are both simple and restrictive. Only beers brewed in Trappist monasteries can use the description. Only six Trappist abbeys exist in Belgium and one in the Netherlands, hence Trappist beer supplies are limited. Their contain somewhat higher alcohol volumes than regular ales, all are very fruity, aromatic and yeasty.
Here are some of the excellent Trappist and special Belgian Beers:
Achel (8 % ABV)
Red Premiere, Chimay (7% ABV) available in Ontario
White Cinq Cents, Chimay (8 % ABV)
Bleu Grande Reserve, Chimay ((% ABV)
Orval (6.2 % ABV)
Rochefort 6 (7.5% ABV)
Rochefort 10 (11.3%)
Dubbel, Westmalle (7% ABV)
Westmalle Tripel (9.5%ABV)
Bornem Triple (9% ABV)
Augustijn (8% ABV)
Above three are available at the L C B O in 6 packs for $ 14.95
Petrus Brown (5.5 ABV) 250 ml $ 1.95
Above four beers are represented by Rubaiyat Wine and Spirits and beers, the largest Belgian and French specialty beer agent in Ontario Beer@greatdrinks.com
For more information on abbey beers log on: