Beginner’s Guide to Belgian Beer Varieties

Belgian beer

When it comes to beer, you know the Belgians do it best. They are the best country in regards to beer producing and crafting. They are the number one beer country in the world. Their ales are well-known all around the world as the best of the best of beers out there. Well, they have been crafting them generation after generation. Their beer is the embodiment of tradition meeting with innovation. Brewers from Belgium have a strong relationship with their history and tradition in brewing. And all that is mixed with their individualism and innovation. This makes Belgian beers unique. Each variety and style have their unique flavor and individual taste. There are several belgisches bier sorten out there. This little guide will introduce you to three of the most popular variety of Belgian beers.

Belgian ales

Belgian aleWhite, Saison, Dubbel, Tripel, Strong Blond, and Strong Dark ales are types of beers in the variety of Belgian ales. Although each has a distinct flavor, they share common features. They have phenol aromas. The yeast is what makes these aromas which are herbal, spicy, clove-like, and quite like bubblegum. The yeast also produces fruity esters which create aromas of fresh citrus and bananas. Most Belgian ales are bottle-conditioned which means they are re-fermented in the bottles. This makes the beer have a champagne-like effervescence when you pour it.

Sour ales

Flanders Red, Flanders Brown, Lambic, and Gueze ales are some categories of sour ales. These beers are made by undergoing wild fermentation techniques to make that unique flavor. Flanders red and brown ales are sweet, sour, and complex beers that have a long history deeply rooted in them. Lambic is very much part of the farmhouse brewing tradition where they are usually brewed in the colder time of the year. This variety is commonly fermented spontaneously. Gueze is made from blended lambics that are aged in oak barrels for several years. Each of them has a distinct sour taste.

Holy ales

BeerBeers brewed by monks, that is what this type is. There are six breweries in Belgium where they craft beers that are brewed by monks. Trappist ales are beer brewed by Trappist monks. They are created at the monastery where the monks manage the production and the brewery. The profit usually goes to benefiting social services and the community. On the other hand, there are Abbey ales. They are not brewed by monks even though they sometimes feature them on the bottle. They are not even brewed for an abbey nor by an abbey. Abbey ales are crafted by commercial brewers whereas Trappist ales are a specific order of monks who brew the ales themselves.