"Belgium has the greatest tradition of beer all over the world. It has the largest diversity that exists with 400 kinds of this divine liquor, and only in the country there are more than 1.100 brands of beer, so for these reasons it is considered the country of beer par excellence. The average Belgian consumes 100 litres (176 pints) per year."
THE TRAPPIST BEERS
If there is a kind of beer par excellence in Belgium, and of course in Brussels, these are the Trappist beers. They are quality beers with high alcohol content (between more or less 7% and 11% ABV) and they are not served cold.
Their manufacturing is still guarded by the monks and they continue producing them with the recipes of the Middle Ages. To have the category of "Trappist beer" you must fulfil certain requirements, it is a kind of certificate of origin and few brands have been awarded with the seal of genuine Trappist beer. Currently there are only 11 beers in the world that have this renowned award and 6 of them are from Belgium. This is the best example of the quality of the beer in this country.
THE BELGIAN TRAPPIST BEERS
During your holidays in Brussels, we encourage you to taste this drink of gods, in most of the breweries (brasseries) they will be differentiated from the rest in the beer list as "Trappist Beers".
The Belgian Trappist beers are: Chimay, Orval, Westmalle, Rochefort, Achel or Westvleteren. Of all of these, without a doubt, the most difficult to taste is the Westvleteren, because it is not for sale in breweries, so if you want to buy some you have to ask for an appointment, go to the abbey and also the monks only sell one box per each car, so this is a luxury product.
REST OF THE TRAPPIST BEERS
The non-Belgian Trappist beers are: Tappe and Zundert (Netherlands), Engelszell (Austria), Mont des Cats (France), and Spencer (EEUU).
If you want to enjoy a good beer in Brussels all of them will be a good choice.
REQUIREMENTS TO BE A TRAPPIST BEER
- The product must be manufactured in an abbey led by monks from the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance.
- The product must be manufactured under the direct supervision and according to the recipe of the monks.
- The profits should be reinvested in accordance with the needs of the community.
Other kind of beer that you should taste during your trip to Brussels is the Lambic beer, they are exclusive from the region of this European capital. They are beers produced by spontaneuous fermentation. This fermentation can only happen in the valley where Brussels is, because the bacteria used for the natural process is unique to this region. They come from Leembek, hence its name, a small town located on the outskirts of Brussels.
CURIOSITIES OF THE LAMBIC BEER
- Its flavour is more similar to the cider than to the beer.
- They are considered as the oldest beers in Europe.
- Its manufacturing is usually traditional.
- Many Lambic beers, like the cider, use cork instead of sheet to be bottled.
- If the flavour is a bit sour fruits can be added, so there are Lambic beers with cherry, peach or raspberry.
- In its manufacturing the producers do not use yeast or hops.
- To find them in the beer list in Brussels, you have to look for the word "Lambic".
- The most consumed Lambic beer in Belgium is the Lambic Kriek ("Kriek" means "cherry" in Flemish, so this is a red beer with this flavour).
THE IPA BEERS
The IPA beers (Indian Pale Ale) have reached a wide acceptance and they are among the most consumed beers by the demanding Belgian market. They are beers with a high hops density and on many occasion they have a traditional manufacturing. Their herbs flavour makes them completely different from the usual taste of the beer.
Most brands have their IPA version to compete with this new fashion that is already set up in all countries with a beer culture.
THE BEST BREWERIES IN BRUSSELS
This is a complex list due to the large number of breweries that there are in Brussels. Anyway, in our personal opinion these are the 5 best breweries in the Belgian capital. We will also visit three of these places in our Brussels Beer Tour.
- Delirium Tremens: Impasse de la Fidélité 4A.
- Moeder Lambic: Fontainsplein 8.
- Monks: Rue Sainte-Catherine 42.
- L'Atelier: Elizastraat, 1050 Elsene.
- Cantillon: Rue Gheude 56.
NICEDAY TOURS' RECOMMENDATIONS
To end this article about the beer in Brussels we have chosen some recommendations on beer brands. When you go into a brewery surely you will be a little lost looking at so much variety, so we provide you a little list to make your life easier.
- A soft beer: Brugse Zot or Kwak.
- A Trappist beer: La Trappe.
- An IPA beer: Trobador (you will find this brand only in Delirium Tremens).
- A Belgian classic beer: Duvel.
- A Lambic beer: Mort Subit.
- A fruity beer: Liefmans Kriek.
You have to keep in mind that the tap beers are always better than the bottled ones.
For any questions you can always ask one of our guides. Cheers!!!