Belgian Beers to try?

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NormanHurst

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I'm looking to extend my understanding and experience of Belgian beer styles. I'm familiar with a few of the more widely available such as Duvel but what else should I look out for? Which are the best breweries? And are there any particular online retailers that do Belgians well? Any advice gratefully received.

Norm
 

Sadfield

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Which are the best breweries?

Westmalle, Rochefort, Sint Bernardus, Orval of the Trappiste beers.

De Koninck, Popperinge Hommelbier, anything from De Struise, De Dolle, Brouwerij De Ranke, Brasserie De La Senne,
De Dochter van de Korenaar, Brasserie Dupont. They all do beers that range from classics to modern beers with a Belgian interpretation.

Brouwerij Verhaeghe and Brewery Omer Vander Ghinste for Flanders style beers.

Cantillon, De Cam, Boon, Drie Fonteinen, Oud Beersal, Girardin, Tilquin, Hannsens for Lambic, Gueuze and Krieks.

Brasserie Dupont, Brouwerij De Glazen Toren, La Brasserie de Blaugies, Fantome for Saisons.
 

Ajhutch

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Westmalle Dubbel is available in most UK supermarkets and is a great place to start. Orval is pretty easy to get hold of as well.

(Before going much further I’ve just seen Sadfield’s excellent list so I’ll stop!)
 

Cestrian

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Rodenbach Grand Cru is an experience. The first time I tried it I wasn’t sure if it was beer or red wine. Its a Flemish red ale. Goes beautiful with steak.
the Grand Cru is 6.0%, which is a blend of old and young beer. Rodenbach original is 5.2% and contains more young beer. Both are excellent.
 

Sinktipper

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I think I've liked or loved practically every Belgian beer I've ever tried but: Struise Pannepot, Orval, Westmalle, Bernardus and Rochefort - unflitered Brugs Zot at the brewery/museum in Bruges is outstanding and Westvleteren 12 at the cafe opposite the St Sixtus abbey was something of a holy experience for me.
 

Cestrian

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There are so many to choose from, but Gouden Carolus tripel is a favourite from het Anker brewery in Mechelen. The Rochefort 10 with the blue cap is one of the best beers I have ever tasted. Westmalle dubbel is not bad either.
 

Cestrian

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I think I've liked or loved practically every Belgian beer I've ever tried but: Struise Pannepot, Orval, Westmalle, Bernardus and Rochefort - unflitered Brugs Zot at the brewery/museum in Bruges is outstanding and Westvleteren 12 at the cafe opposite the St Sixtus abbey was something of a holy experience for me.
Never got the chance to try Westvleteren. It’s on my bucket list.
 

trueblue

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Today at 5:43 PM
Westvleteren 12 is often voted the best beer in the world. Officially only available from the monastery so if you can find it you end up paying a hefty price. Personally I find Westmalle Dubbel as good also Gulden Draak.
 

chthon

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All 😜

Sorry, from Belgium here 😎

Everything, except anything from AbInbev. They don't deserve your money.

@Sadfield gives a really impressive list of nice beers, especially since some of the greatest are located in the province I live in, West-Flanders, both a monument to the first WW and home of more than a couple of impressive breweries: St.-Bernardus, West-Vleteren, Struise Brouwers (actually all three within a radius of 20 km of each other), De Dolle Brouwers, De Halve Maan, Bourgogne Des Flandres, Rodenbach (my wife is from Roeselare/Roulers), I won't repeat or extend Sadfields list. Proud to live in this province, and adore its beers.

I would get carried away, because I would start listing beers from the southern shore of the Schelde/l'Escaut, because in the Holland province of Zeeland, there are also some very good brewers, who tend to collaborate with Belgian breweries along this border.
 

chthon

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Today at 5:43 PM
Westvleteren 12 is often voted the best beer in the world. Officially only available from the monastery so if you can find it you end up paying a hefty price. Personally I find Westmalle Dubbel as good also Gulden Draak.
Haha, reminds me of one of the times we were in Vlissingen. There is a very nice beverage seller there, Drankgigant, who had at one time West-Vleteren. They really stock a whole lot of different beers. Upon entering we noticed some West-Vleteren (we, that's my wife and me), and we were amazed. But there was no price upon them. So we take two bottles, and we have other things like a bottle of three gin (cheaper than in Belgium), so we pay our fare, and don't think much about the total because of the gin.

Afterwards, at home, we look at the ticket, and noticed that we paid 12.5 EUR for a single bottle of WV. I must say that that really was the only time they had it.

I like the WV12, but it really needs aging to be appreciated, and it can be aged rather long.

We have this zythologist here, Sophie Vanrafelghem, and she and her husband did a weekly cafe on Facebook during lockdown (now monthly). They tasted two long aged beers, one Orval of 12 years, and one WV of 13 years. And the Orval was undrinkable, but the WV was still good.
 

Dorst

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A good place to start are the trappist breweries like Westmalle, Orval, Achel, Westvleteren, Rochefort, and Chimay.

Excellent examples by style:

Witbier: Hoegaarden, Blanche de Namur
Saison: Saison Dupont, Blaugies
Blond: Brugse zot, Moinette
Dubbel: Westmalle, Brugse Zot Dubbel
Tripel: Westmalle, Gouden Carolus, Witkap
Flanders red: Rodenbach Grand Cru, Duchesse de Bourgogne
Geuze: Boon, Cantilon, Oud Beersel, 3 Fonteinen, Tilquin
Kriek/fruited sours: See Geuze, and de Cam
Quadrupel: Sint Bernardus Abt, Pannepot, Straffe Hendrik Quad
Others: Liefmans Gouden Band, Petrus

Some breweries I really enjoy: Dochter van de Korenaar, De la Senne, Alvinne, Het verzet, Minne, Struise, Dolle and many more.
 

Sadfield

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I would get carried away, because I would start listing beers from the southern shore of the Schelde/l'Escaut,
Please do. It would be great get some local knowledge, to know what else to look out for when online, and hopefully in Belgium post covid19. I'm long overdue a trip as it is.
 

Pavros

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Go to the Beerwulf website armed with a list from all the above replies and buy a selection.

I also have a soft spot for Chimay (any of them) as it was the first Belgian i tried but they don't really stand up to the best of each style.

My favourites:
Rodenbach Grand Cru (I love It, some hate it)
Anything Rochefort, Westmalle (although the tripel is sweet), St Bernardus and Chimay. Orval varies greatly - young it is a nice pale ale but once it ages it can be very Bretty. I had one that was very barnyardy.
Duvel

These are all reasonably easy to find...then you can experiment!
 
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Sinktipper

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Never got the chance to try Westvleteren. It’s on my bucket list.
I can thoroughly recommend a post-covid trip to In De Vrede if it's in any way do-able. You'll definitely need a satnav though! The Westvleteren beers are all less than 5 Euros each. Much cheaper than the 'grey market' resellers. The shop has gift packs of two bottles of 12 plus a glass for about 20 euros.
 

darrellm

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It really is worth getting yourself over to Belgium when the current situation eases.

Even budget hotels like Ibis have amazing bars with a decent selection of beers (at least the one in Ghent did), get yourself over to Bruges and to De Haalve Maan brewery to sample some Bruges Zot or Straffe Hendrik Quadruple, also a lot of cafes do a deal where you try 4 different beers for a set price, and there's the Brugs Beertje bar with hundreds of beers.

As a beer lover, every visit to Belgium has been a heavenly experience.
 

NormanHurst

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It really is worth getting yourself over to Belgium when the current situation eases.

Even budget hotels like Ibis have amazing bars with a decent selection of beers (at least the one in Ghent did), get yourself over to Bruges and to De Haalve Maan brewery to sample some Bruges Zot or Straffe Hendrik Quadruple, also a lot of cafes do a deal where you try 4 different beers for a set price, and there's the Brugs Beertje bar with hundreds of beers.

As a beer lover, every visit to Belgium has been a heavenly experience.
Thanks. I hsve started plotting a trip to watch some one of the cycling classics and drink beer next year already. Looking forward to the 'research phase'
 
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