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The best Belgian beers you can find everywhere

Get to know belgian beer

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When it comes to European beer destinations, there are quite a few to choose from. You can find outstanding beers in Germany, the Czech Republic, England, Amsterdam, Ireland, and beyond. Today, however, we’re turning our attention to one of the most popular beer destinations not just in Europe, but in the world. We’re talking about Belgium.

If you didn’t know it already, beer is a big deal in Belgium. If you don’t believe us, you should know that UNESCO added “Belgian beer culture” to its list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2016.

They’ve been brewing since the days of Rome. There’s also a long history of monks brewing beer as far back as the Middle Ages and even before. There’s still a glut of traditional breweries, such as Trappist monasteries, that are brewing beer even today. On top of that, there are many other breweries, producing award-winning, flavorful beer that deserve your attention.

What beers are made in Belgium?

Belgian beer

If you’re a beer drinker, you’re probably aware of the Belgian-style wheat beer or witbier. While this style is wildly popular in Belgium and imitated by American craft brewers like Allagash and Avery, Belgian brewers also produce a ton of sour ales, strong ales, pale ales, lambics, Flemish red ales, stouts, and more.

How many breweries are in Belgium?

Beer bottles
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Before we get into that, you need to know that Belgium is a country of around 12 million people, while the US has a population of almost 350 million. So, while the 417 plus breweries currently operating in Belgium pale in comparison to the more than 9,000 in the US, you have to assume it’s a quality-over-quantity type of thing.

The best Belgian beers you can find anywhere

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The best thing about Belgium being a beer destination is the fact that so many of its award-winning, flavorful beers are available here in the US. And not just at specialized beer stores. You can find myriad noteworthy Belgian beers at your local grocery store, or anywhere beer is sold where you live. Keep scrolling to see five of the best options.

Orval Trappist Ale

Orval Trappist Ale

This Belgian pale ale is known for its fruity, acidic flavor profile, along with a ton of hop aroma and bitterness. It gets its unique flavor from being bottled with Brettanomyces. This adds a dryness and tart flavor to this very interesting, flavorful beer. This is the kind of beer you need to taste to believe.

Achouffe La Chouffe

Achouffe La Chouffe

This 8% ABV Belgian blonde ale has been brewed the same way at Achouffe Brewery for the last forty-plus years. This award-winning beer is known for its mix of malts, citrus peels, fruit esters, gentle spice, and lightly floral hops. If you’re a fan of big-ABV blonde ales, this is a must-try.

St. Bernardus Abt 12

St. Bernardus Abt 12
St. Bernardus

One of the most popular Belgian beers in the world, St. Bernardus Abt 12 is the brewery’s flagship beer. This quadruple is made using the same recipe from 1946. It’s well-known for its malty, fruity flavor profile and lightly floral, bitter finish. There’s a reason this well-balanced, flavorful beer is one of the most popular in the world.

Chimay Grande Réserve Blue

Chimay Grande Réserve Blue

When it comes to Belgian beer brands, there are few more well-known than Chimay. This Belgian dark strong ale was originally brewed back in the early 1950s as a Christmas beer. Now available year-round, it’s known for its complex flavor palate featuring notes of caramel malt sweetness, raisins, orchard fruits, brown bread, and sweet sherry-like flavors. It’s a beer that gains even more aroma and flavor when it’s aged.

Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens

There’s no Belgian beer more beloved than Delirium Tremens. This 8.5% ABV pale blonde ale is brewed with pale malt, three types of yeast, water, as well as Styrian Golding, and Saaz hops. It’s known for its highly effervescent mouthfeel profile featuring a malty, fruity, lightly spicy flavor profile. If you only try one of the Belgian beers on this list, make this one.

Bottom line

Belgian beer
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If you’re new to Belgian beer, getting started might seem overwhelming. But, like with anything, you have to start somewhere. Don’t go to the store and buy every Belgian beer you see. Grab one or two from the list and see what you like. Also, if you enjoy an American blonde ale, give a Belgian blonde a try. The same goes for a strong ale, pale ale, or witbier. You’ll be amazed at how similarities and differences. Just don’t stick to your usual yellow, fizzy beer. Try something different. You’ll be glad you did.

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Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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