The depth, diversity and quality of Belgian beers are incomparable. From a light afternoon lager like Jupiler, being enjoyed in the sunshine to a heavy triple hop that is to be enjoyed and savoured over an hour in the late evening, the choices on offer are limitless.
Here we go through a list of my favourite Belgian beers which should be at the top of your list if you ever do get to visit Belgium or a Belgian bar.
Jupiler – The most widely sold beer in Belgium and the closest beer to the pilsner or lager family.
Stella Artois – Here we have another beer which is basically a pilsner but with Stella Artois comes a refined taste which sets it apart and thus has its own following and niche in any market.
Hoegaarden – A classic and the most popular wheat beer from Belgium, world famous, unfiltered and with a taste that is spiced with coriander and orange peel.
Duvel – From Duvel as we progress on all the beers are heavier with a unique taste and might even need an acquired taste to fall in love with. Duvel is a pale ale with an alcohol content of 8.5%. The Duvel Challenge started in a bar in Belgian where the participants had to drink ten Duvels in an hour without passing out or going to the bathroom. The pot to be won went over 1 million Belgian Franks and no one ever won the challenge with most people passing out half way through. All I am saying is drink these beers with care.
Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple – This beer was introduced to me in Chile on exchange by my professor. It turned out to be my favourite dark beer. The name comes from the golden dragon on the top of the belfry in Ghent. It is a must try, I prefer the variation in the black bottle, not the white. The alcohol content is 10.5%.
Chimay – A favourite in the French part of Belgium and also of the highest quality. I tried the Chimay Red 7%, Chimay Triple which is 8% and Chimay Blue 9%. I felt the consistency and flavour of the Chimay Blue were fantastic, in a sense within the same family as the classic Duvel.
Leffe – A flagship Belgium beer that is exported and widely available across the world. The Leffe blond is the lightest beer, essentially a pale ale. The Leffe Brune and Leffe Triple are the other most famous varieties.
Delirium – The Delirium Tremens was once voted as the best beer in the world. The quality of Belgian beers being excellent, sometimes I found it hard to rate one above another. At times it came down to a certain connection I made with them or a feeling I had when I drank one. With Delirium Tremens it was walking through the alleys and down by the canals in Bruges and somehow that melancholy stuck with me and that classic pink elephant on the bright blue label with a facade of a ceramic touch on the bottle.
Duchesse de Bourgogne – A special beer that could bring out a polarised feeling towards it. Having had it just twice for me the jury is still out as to my feelings for the beer. It is a malt beer with wheat and mixed with an array of spices that give it a slight citrus feel but I can’t put my finger on what the exact taste of it is yet. Definitely to be tried simply for its specific taste and experience.
Trappist Breweries – These are breweries that were started by monks in monasteries over the last centuries. The quality of Trappist beers is great and their legacy is etched in history. Chimay, as written about earlier, is one of the Belgium Trappist’s along with the popular Westmalle, while a special mention must be made for the Quadruple Trappist beers such as Trappist Rochefort and the Dutch La Trappe Quadruple, these quadruple beers although a touch sweet are some of the finest beers in the world.
I hope you go ahead and go through the list one day and offer your thoughts on the beers as well.