Top 10 Belgian Beer Brands and Best Belgian Beer
If it wasn’t for Germany being next door, Belgium would be at the top in world beer rankings. It’s right up there anyway, though! Belgium’s over 700 beers range from rare delicacies reminiscent of fine wine to hearty party drinks. Where do you start? Well, here is our current top 10 list to get you started. After you read it, we advise you to jump in and do your own taste-testing.
1. Westvleteren 12
Brewed at St Sixtus abbey in Flanders, Westvleteren is often touted as the best beer in Belgium and sometimes even in the world. Judging from its taste, it really could be. It’s dark and rich, bringing tastes of chocolate and cream as well as dates, raisins, peaches, figs, and wine, among others. It defines the class of abbey ales. Since this is a very small-capacity brewery, Westvleteren is often hard to get. You may actually have to phone ahead and drive to the abbey in person just for the chance to buy the maximum allowed per car – a single case with only 6 bottles!
2. Chimay White
Trappist monks at Forges-les-Chimay present another candidate for one of the world’s best beers. Several beers are brewed there, and all of them are well-known, though not all are easy to find. The taste is deep, strong, and laden with fruit and a little nutmeg and thyme.
3. Westmalle Triple
Another Trappist beer, this one from monks at Westmalle, near Antwerp. The brew comes with claims by the monks that it can improve your appetite, reduce stress, and even cure insomnia! It may be just the excellent taste, or it might really be true. Either way, it’s a really good beer that goes down smooth and tastes great along the way!
Duvel is an abbey beer, but not one made by Trappist monks. The name “Duvel” means “Devil”, after a Flemish customer’s exclamation “Nen echte duvel!” (“A real devil!”). Its fruity aroma complements a dry taste with a slightly sweet overtone and scent of hops.
5. St Bernardus Abt
ABV:12 – 10.5%
Yet another Trappist beer, this one is brewed in the abbey at Watou under the brand name of St. Bernardus. The taste is rich, containing licorice, plum, cherry, peppermint, and raisins and chocolate. Some even detect gingerbread. You barely notice the alcohol under the fruity flavors.
6. Corsendonk Pater Noster
Taking the name of a priory that existed from 1398 to 1784, this is rich red-brown beer that some say is even more refreshing than Duvel. The Pater is considered the best of the Corsendonk brews, with a fruity and bready aroma and a candy plus fruit taste mixed with malt. Be careful, this one also hides the alcohol very well.
7. Cantillon Gueuze
ABV:5% or a little more
Gueuze is a type of beer, not a brand. It’s a mix of lambics of different ages, refermented and bottled. Somewhat sweet and full-bodied, the traditional brews are not sweet and light like commercial versions – instead you get a sharp, flowery taste with hops, and a dry finish.
ABV:10 – 11.3%
Brewed by Trappist monks in the Ardennes, this beer is deep red-brown and fruity. You may taste raspberry, raisins, coffee, even prunes and grapefruit, as well as chocolate. Once again, the delicious taste conceals the alcohol very well, making this beer dangerous in the opinion of some tasters.
9. Karmeliet Tripel
From Bosteels brewery, Karmeliet Tripel is pale yellow with a sweet fruity taste. Some say this is a feminine beer because you can’t detect the alcohol for the sweet flavor. You can taste banana, honey, orange blossom, and green apple for tartness, along with malt and a slightly dry aftertaste. Why are all these beers so good? You just don’t want to stop!
We finish up this list with yet another Trappist beer, this one from the Abbaye d’Orval in the Ardennes. Orval is a little spicy, brown colored and memorable with a strong flavor of hops running from a bitter yet sweet flowery start to an emphatic hops finish. Overall a refreshing drink.
Now you have a starting point for your own exploration. One last word – these beers are so good you may overdo it without knowing it! Before you embark on a tour of these amazing Belgian treats, make sure you have a way to get home so you can enjoy without second thoughts!