It's all about the Monks

Beer has always played a significant role in both social and religious aspects of Belgian culture. This nation is currently host to the European Union's Headquarters, but it was at one time an important host to monks fleeing France during the late 18th century revolution. The monks sought refuge in Trappist monasteries where fifty years after the revolution in 1836, they began producing special beer for themselves. This gave birth to two new styles of ales: Trappist and Abbey beers. Very similar to each other, the two styles are separated from each other in both definition and practice. Trappist beers are solely produced in a Trappist Monastery. Monks have to control the production process, and the profits generated by the sale of these beers must be used to support the operation of the monastery or other social programs.

There are currently only eight brewery/monasteries that meet all of the qualifications for their beer to be officially labeled as Trappist beer, and all but two of them are in Belgium (two are in The Netherlands, one in Austria, and another in America). Abbey beers are trappist style brews that don't meet the qualifications laid out by the International Trappist Association but are still brewed in a similar manner. These beers are very close in style to traditional Trappists, but they (usually by a discrepancy in defining the term) are considered to be of a different style of beer. So the Belgians made a certification for those, too.

Of course Belgium has much more to offer when it comes to their brewing. Beer originating from Belgium is diverse and literally comes in all sorts of styles and colors. Belgian Blondes are a popular variant of pale ales, often brewed with pilsner malt. Wheat beer is also very popular with Lambics and Witbiers dominating Belgian markets. Beer in Belgium tends to be fruitier, lighter in color, sweeter, and ultimately, lighter in taste. But don't let the forgiving wheat based brews fool you. Most of these traditional brews carry at least a good amount of potency, with popular examples Chimay Blue Reserve and Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Tremens toting a 9% and a 8.5% respectively. Belgian beer is very refreshing, very alcoholic, and as it turns out, quite nice on a hot summer day. Stronger yeast notes are also a prevalent trademark in Belgian beer.

Op uw gezondheid.

Rated Belgian Beers

5-13-17 - Brouwerij Slaapmutske Organic Tripel - 3.58, Tripel, 8.10%
2-27-16 - Brouwerij Bosteels Pauwel Kwak - 3.64, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8.40%
8-22-15 - Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus 50/50 Sour - 3.12, Flanders Red Ale, 8.50%
4-11-15 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus N.V. Abt 12 - 3.94, Quadrupel, 10.00%
12-05-14 - Brouwerij Van Steenberge Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale - 3.37, Flanders Oud Bruin, 5.50%
11-29-14 - Brasserie d'Orval Trappist Ale - 3.92, Belgian Trappist Pale Ale, 6.20%
11-28-14 - Chimay Premiere (Red) - 3.87, Beglian Trappist Dubbel, 7.00%
11-27-14 - Brouwerij Van Steenberge Gulden Draak - 3.39, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 10.50%
5-31-14 - Brasserie De Brunehaut - 2.48, Belgian Pale Ale, 6.50%
5-03-14 - Saison Dupont - 4.01, Saison/Farmhouse Ale, 6.50%
5-27-13 - Brouwerij Rodenbach Grand Cru - 2.97, Flanders Red Ale, 6.00%
3-23-13 - Brouwerij Palm NV Palm Speciale - 3.01, Belgian Pale Ale, 5.40%
2-20-13 - Brasserie Lefebvre SA Blanche de Bruxelles - 3.23, Witbier, 4.50%
12-29-12 - Brouwerij Liefmans Goudenband - 3.98, Flanders Oud Bruin, 8.00%
4-15-12 - Urthel Hop-It - 3.79, Belgian IPA, 9.50%
12-28-11 - Brasserie des Geants Goliath Belgian Gouyasse Triple - 3.42, Tripel, 9.00%
3-10-11 - Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Tremens - 3.21, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 8.50%
11-22-10 - Chimay Brewery Blue Reserve - 4.09, Dark Ale, 9.00%
3-25-10 - InBev Belgium Leffe Blonde - 3.75, Belgian White, 6.60%
Date Expurgated - Hoegaarden Brewery Hoegaarden - 2.98, Belgian Wheat, 5.00%
Date Expurgated - InBev Stella Artois - 2.75, Lager, 5.00%

Popular Beer Styles in Belgium

  • Dubbel
  • Amber Ale
  • Trappist
  • Saison
  • Abbey
  • Brown Ale
  • Flemish Red
  • Lambic
  • Oud Bruin
  • Tripel
  • White/Wheat
  • Belgian Breweries with Rated Beer

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev - Leuven, Belgium/St. Louis, MO, USA
  • Brasserie De Brunehaut - Brunehaut, Belgium
  • Brasserie des Geants - Irchonwelz, Belgium
  • Brasserie d'Orval S.A. - Villers-devant-Orval, Belgium
  • Brasserie Dupont SPRL - Tourpes, Belgium
  • Brasserie Lefebvre SA - Rebecq-Quenast, Belgium
  • Brouwerij Bosteels - Buggenhout, Belgium
  • Brouwerij De Brabandere - Bavikhove, Belgium
  • Brouwerij Huyghe - Melle, Belgium
  • Brouwerij Liefmans - Oudenaarde, Belgium
  • Brouwerij Palm N.V. - Steenhuffel, Belgium
  • Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. - Roeselare, Belgium
  • Brouwerij Slaapmutske - Melle, Belgium
  • Brouwerij St. Bernardus N.V. - Watou, Belgium
  • Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. - Ertvelde, Belgium
  • Chimay Brewery - Chimay, Hainaut, Belgium
  • Hoegaarden Brewery - Hoegaarden, Belgium
  • InBev Belgium - Leuven, Belgium
  • De Leyerth Brouwerijen (Urthel) - Ruiselede, Belgium