While Belgian beers only account for approximately 1% of all beer produced in the world, the influence of Belgian beer is deeply embedded in a host of different cultures and countries.
In fact, Belgium offers the greatest diversity of original beer styles that you’ll find anywhere on the planet.
With this in mind, many argue that Belgium is one of the best countries in the world for brewing high quality, full-flavored beer. So, which are the beers that are worth checking out?
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at 14 of the best Belgian beers that you’ll be sure to love. We’ll also look to answer a number of the frequently asked questions related to Belgian beer.
OUR TOP PICK
The first Belgian beer on our list is Blanche De Bruxelles which demonstrates strong tasting notes of coriander, bread, and orange peel.
Historically, this witbier was brewed by farm brewers to exhibit the year’s wheat harvest, with the better quality crops producing higher quality beer.
While the style of Blanche De Bruxelles is a little less seasonal nowadays, the best brewers are still aware that the beer is only as good as the wheat it’s brewed with.
The light and spunky beer is brewed with a 40% wheat base, and is left unfiltered to maintain a strong enough percentage.
Saison Dupont is considered by many craft brewers as the ultimate benchmark for Saison-style beer.
At 6.5%, it’s one of the stronger options on this list, but with strong wafts of floral hops and a touch of phenolic spice that you’ll experience from the very first pour, it’s one of the very best Belgian beers that you’ll come across.
The Saison Dupont Farmhouse Ale is sealed with a cork and cage, and the liquid inside is both elegant and complex. The beer provides a bready malt sweetness with delicious notes of orange peel and a superb crisp, dry finish.
The deep amber-orange liquid of Orval Trappist Ale is widely considered as one of the most complete beers in the world.
An earthy, peppery scent is underpinned by strong orange peel notes and a flurry of sour, citrusy notes, before giving way to a spicy, bitter finish. It’s bright, crispy, and refreshing, and right at the top of the Belgian beers you need to try.
This popular beer has been brewed since 1931 at the Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval. Not only has Orval over time come to embody everything great about Trappist brewing traditions, it’s also been an excellent example of the overall quality of Belgian beer.
This next beer is one of the best of the Brasserie Cantillon range, and is the perfect beverage choice for those who love lambic beers and beers on the sour side.
Lou Pepe Gueuze is essentially a blend of two-year old lambics that are more often than not aged in wooden barrels that have previously been used to hold French wine.
In terms of taste, this beer is soft and provides a mellow tartness, as well as a mild horse blanket funk. Not only is Lou Pepe Gueuze delicious to drink, it’s highly addictive and will leave you wanting another glass.
The high alcoholic percentage of Belgian beer is one of the biggest reasons why many drinkers stay away from it.
However, if you’re in the mood for a slightly weaker beer but still want all the flavor of a typical Belgian brew, Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne is an excellent choice.
The beer itself is a 4.5% pale ale, with plenty of yeasty, hoppy flavors. Due to it’s low alcoholic percentage, Taras Boulba is sessionable beer, and is hugely popular across Belgium - in particular the Brussels area.
The next offering on our list is the St. Feuillien Blonde from Brasserie St. Feuillien.
While there are plenty of blonde ales to choose from in Belgium, many of them lack depth and are rather one-dimensional. Fortunately, the St. Feuillien Blonde is a little different from its counterparts.
The beer reflects the understated gastronomy of its homeland, Wallonia, and delivers an enchanting character with spicy hops that’ll get your taste buds tingling and a perfect balance between crisp and malty. It’s a traditional Belgian beer that you have to try!
If you’re looking for a sour brew that’s stepped in Belgian tradition, there are few options better than Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge.
The beer is spontaneously fermented and then barrel-aged for around 18 months, which in turn gives the drink it’s unique bright sourness. Don’t worry though, this sourness is beautifully balanced out with some of the oak qualities from the barrel.
The Zinnebir from Brasserie de la Senne is one of the favorites among beer drinkers in Belgium. The brewer’s philosophy when it comes to making beer is to create as much flavor as possible with a limited amount of alcohol, and the Zinnebir is no exception.
It exhibits a cloudy orange color and provides a great aroma of honey, lemon zest, pollen, and light exotic fruits. What’s more, the taste of the drink is malty, with a delicious bitterness and a prolonged aftertaste - an excellent all-round beverage.
This beer has a grain yellow appearance, that’s also foggy with a thick foam.
The taste of the beer is sweet and fruity, topped with some dry hop spiciness and a delicious green citrus finish, while the aroma is predominantly exotic fruits and wet grains with an undertone of dry hops.
The rich and well-balanced character of Witkap Pater Stimulo delivers a more moderate sweetness compared to many of the other Belgian blondes, so a fantastic option to give a go.
This classic Flemish sour brown brew is the masterpiece of brewmaster Rosa Merckx, who originally started as a secretary at the Liefmans brewery before advancing to the position of brewer.
Merckx, now in her mid-90’s, still lives next to the brewery and regularly checks the quality of the beer.
Goudenband is a complex but well-balanced beer, with caramel sweetness countering the refined sourness of the drink. What’s more, you also get hints of red apples and raisins in the flavor, making Goudenband the ideal provision beer.
XX Bitter is a Belgian beer that’s a great example of a beverage that’s packed full of hops to create a full-bodied character, without making the drink overly strong or difficult to drink.
The best thing about this beer is the fact that it covers a lot of bases. So, if you’re in the mood for a sophisticated drink, XX Bitter is a good option with its light grapefruit and lemon, as well as its long, dry aftertaste.
What’s more, this beer is also incredibly refreshing and easy to drink, so it’s perfect if you want a few quick drinks with your friends.
Westmalle Tripel is a blonde, top-fermented beer that was first launched in 1934. However, it wasn’t until a little later in 1956 when the delicate hoppiness was introduced to the drink, giving it the signature taste and complex character it’s best known for today.
The vast majority of classic Belgian beers are balanced and complex, and Westmalle Tripel is an excellent example of this.
The predominant flavor of the beer is a delicate sweetness, which gives way to bitter, fruity, and orangey flavors and a long, bitter aftertaste. The aroma is just as complex, providing a fine and fruity hop bitterness, as well as some soft maltiness.
This well-balanced and strong blonde ale is one of the most popular beers of the moment. Needless to say, it doesn’t skimp on quality with some of the very best brewing methods to create a delicious-tasting beverage.
Omer Traditional Blonde Ale uses malted barley from the Loire region of France, as well as three different varieties of hops to produce a fruity and flavorful beer with a pleasant bite.
The final Belgian beer on our list, and by certainly no means the least, is Westvleteren Blonde. This 5.8% beverage was conceived in 1999 to mark the opening of the re-modeled ‘In de Vrede’ cafe next to the abbey.
The drink itself is a simple beer made by monks, and delivers an earthy, somewhat grassy character. The taste and aroma of the beer is lightly fruity at the outset, while the hops contribute to a bitter, firm, and dry finish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Belgian Beer So Good?
Belgian beer is incredibly popular mainly because of its rich taste, the double fermentation, and the mastery behind the brew.
The latter comes as a result of hundreds of years of Trappist knowledge combined with the improvements of modern technology. With all this in mind, Belgian beer embodies centuries of high quality flavor and wisdom.
What Is A Belgian-Style Ale?
The vast majority of Belgian-style pale ales provide a caramel or toasted malt flavor and are gold to copper in color. These types of beers were inspired by British pale ales, and are characterized by a slight but noticeable hop bitterness, aroma and flavor.
Why Is Belgian Beer More Expensive Than Other Beer?
For a number of decades, Belgian beer was considered the very best in terms of providing exotic beer flavors, so this subsequently drove up the price that importers could charge.
Consumers were happy to meet the price due to the quality and popularity of the beer, and as the price of other beers on the market rose over time, so did the price of Belgian beer.
Is Stella Artois A Belgian Beer?
While Stella Artois is brewed under contract in both the United Kingdom and Australia, the beer actually originates from Leuven, a city in the Flemish Region of Belgium.
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