Discover what are Belgian beers and the best types in our guide.
Belgium is known for its rich brewing tradition and diverse range of beer styles. From fruity lambics and spicy saisons to rich dubbels and quadrupels, there is a Belgian beer to suit every taste. In this article, we will explore the most popular Belgian beer styles and provide recommendations for some of the best examples of each.
One of the most iconic and revered styles of Belgian beer is the Trappist beer, which is brewed by monks in Trappist monasteries. There are only eleven Trappist breweries in the world, six of which are located in Belgium. These beers are known for their complex flavors and high alcohol content, and are often bottle-conditioned, meaning that they continue to ferment and develop flavor in the bottle.
Some of the best-known Trappist beers include:
- Chimay: This classic Trappist brewery produces three beers: a blonde, a red, and a blue. The blue, also known as Chimay Grande Reserve, is a dark, strong ale with flavors of dark fruit, caramel, and spice.
- Orval: Orval is a unique and complex beer, with a dry, hoppy flavor and a distinctive, musty aroma. It is bottle-conditioned with Brettanomyces, a type of wild yeast, which gives it its distinctive character.
- Rochefort: Rochefort produces three beers, all of which are strong and full-bodied, with flavors of dark fruit, caramel, and chocolate. The Rochefort 10 is considered by many to be one of the best beers in the world.
Lambic beers are another distinctive and highly respected style of Belgian beer. These beers are made using a traditional, spontaneous fermentation process, in which the wort (unfermented beer) is left exposed to the open air to allow wild yeasts and bacteria to inoculate it. This process results in a unique, sour, and often funky flavor.
Some of the most popular lambic beers include:
- Gueuze: Gueuze is a blend of young and old lambics, which is then bottled and allowed to referment, resulting in a dry, bubbly, and sour beer.
- Kriek: Kriek is a lambic beer that has been flavored with cherries. It has a bright, fruity flavor and a beautiful pink color.
- Faro: Faro is a sweetened lambic beer that is made by adding caramelized sugar to the finished product. It has a rich, malty flavor and a lower alcohol content than most lambic beers.
Abbey beers are a style of Belgian beer that is inspired by the brewing traditions of monasteries but are not actually brewed by monks. These beers are often strong and full-bodied, with flavors of dark fruit, caramel, and spice.
Some popular examples of abbey beers include:
- Westvleteren: This beer is brewed by the monks at St. Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren, and is highly sought after by beer enthusiasts for its rich, complex flavor and high alcohol content.
- Leffe: Leffe is a popular abbey beer that is brewed by the Abbaye Notre Dame de Leffe in Dinant, Belgium. It is a blonde ale with flavors of fruit, spice, and caramel.
- Chimay: As mentioned above, Chimay is a classic abbey beer that is produced by the Trappist monks at
Saison beers are a refreshing and spicy style of Belgian beer that was originally brewed by farmers in the Wallonia region of Belgium to refresh their workers during the harvest season. These beers are light and dry, with a spicy and fruity flavor profile, and a refreshing, effervescent character.
Some popular examples of saison beers include:
- Saison Dupont: This classic saison is known for its spicy and citrusy flavor profile, and its dry, refreshing finish.
- Fantôme Saison: This highly sought-after saison is brewed by the enigmatic Brasserie Fantôme in the Ardennes region of Belgium. It has a complex and enigmatic flavor profile, with notes of citrus, spice, and funk.
Belgian Blonde Beers
Belgian blonde beers are a style of golden ale that is brewed with pale malt and a variety of Belgian yeasts, which give them a distinctive, spicy and fruity flavor. These beers are light and refreshing, with moderate alcohol content, and are perfect for enjoying on a hot summer day.
Some popular examples of Belgian blonde beers include:
- Duvel: This iconic Belgian blonde beer is known for its spicy and fruity flavor profile, and its dry, effervescent finish.
- La Chouffe: This refreshing blonde ale is brewed by the Brasserie d’Achouffe in the Ardennes region of Belgium. It has a spicy and fruity flavor profile, with a hint of bitterness and a dry, refreshing finish.
Final Word About What Are Belgian Beers
Belgium is home to a rich and diverse range of beer styles, each with its own unique character and flavor profile. From spicy saisons and refreshing blondes to rich and complex Trappist and lambic beers, there is a Belgian beer to suit every taste. Whether you are a seasoned beer aficionado or a newcomer to the world of Belgian beer, there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy.
- “The History of Belgian Beer.” Visit Flanders. Accessed December 23, 2022. https://www.visitflanders.com/en/articles/history-belgian-beer/
- “The Top 10 Most Popular Belgian Beers.” Belgian Beer Me. Accessed December 23, 2022. https://www.belgianbeerme.com/the-top-10-most-popular-belgian-beers/
- “Belgian Beer Styles.” Beer Advocate. Accessed December 23, 2022. https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/101/styles/