READY TO EXPLORE?
Belgium has enjoyed a thriving beer culture since the 12th century, when low-alcohol beers were a safer alternative to unsanitary drinking water. Today the quirky ales' flavours and textures aren't easily categorized, but most are noted for their fruity and spicy yeasts, light bodies and endless effervescence. Some of the country’s most famed beer styles — dubbels, tripels and quadrupels — originated in monasteries. Over half of the world’s 11 Trappist breweries, overseen by monks within the abbey walls, remain in Belgium, making for a mystical drinking experience.
YOU MAY TASTE
Complex, fruity esters, like pear, orange, apple, plum, dried cherry or fig. Snappy, spicy notes, like white peppercorn, wild arugula or cinnamon. Malt flavours, like light crackers, honey, biscuits, toast or caramel. Belgian ales are light- to full-bodied, with high carbonation and moderate to elevated alcohol levels.
SIP THEM WITH
Match lower alcohol brews with lighter fare, like roasted chicken, pesto linguine, shrimp cocktail or moules frites. For higher alcohol brews, go with richer fare, like roasted pork, wild mushroom risotto, seared foie gras, chocolate cake, tiramisu or aged cheese.
Take these ales out of the fridge before serving to let them warm up, liberating the complex spicy and fruity notes. A good rule of thumb is to warm the beer’s temperature to match its alcohol percentage, so a 9.5% tripel should be served between eight and 10 degrees. If the beer has yeast in the bottle, stop pouring when there is a half-inch of liquid left.