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Belgians love their beer and often brew special beers for festivals and events. Easter beer, Christmas beer, and summer beer belong to some of the beers brewed in new batches each year.
It is said that beer is for the Belgian what wine is for the Frenchman. Beer is often used in cooking, and reading the drink section of the restaurants' menus is often impressive reading. You'll find delicious, strong beer for meat, light creations for seafood and fruit beer for dessert.
It is difficult to generalize about Belgian beer because of the many different styles: monastery beer, wheat beer, spontaneous fermented beer, fruit beer and of course lager beer (two out of three bottles of beer drunk in the country are lager beer).
Trappist beer is partly unique to Belgium, which has six of the world's twelve beer-producing monastaries (the rest: two are in the Netherlands and one in Austria, France, Italy and the United States respectively). The Monastery Order, a breakaway group from the Cistercian Order, should be completely self-sufficient - and beer is a part of this. Certain rules must be met in order for the monastery to use the term Trappist on the label.
In order to get Trappist status, the beer must be brewed inside the monastery walls, and the surplus of sales should go towards charitable purposes. The six trappist monasteries Chimay, Orval, Westmalle, Westvleteren, Achel, and Rochefort make very different beers, but there are common denominators. The beer is often high in alcohol, tastes a lot and should be enjoyed with food.
Trappist ales usually have a higher alcohol content, around 7-9% by volume, are full and usually have a sweet taste. All these parameters make them suitable for bottle development, where the beer is fermenting a second time in the bottle. After many years of storage, a character develops where the carbonic acid goes down, the beer is rounded off and becomes drier, and sometimes it is possible to get a taste not entirely different from port wine.
The Trappist monastery Orval only makes one kind of beer, while Chimay makes three. The Westmalle monastery produces two kinds, a double with 7% alcohol and a triple with 9.5% - both fiery but without the alcohol feeling intrusive. As an alternative to wine, these beers are usually unbeatable.
Spontaneous fermentation of beer is unique to Belgium. It's the oldest way to make beer. You let the air's microorganisms attack the brew in large open barrels, or initially in basin-like cisterns. This type is almost exclusively produced in the fields outside the country's capital Brussels.
Spontaneous fermented beer becomes very acidic, gets an oxidized tone and can taste a little like vinegar. But do not let this deter you from tasting, because it's usually extremely good. Especially for food.
We always have guest taps with exciting beer that we don't list here. In our regular assortment, we do our best to always have the following beers available.
Chimay Dorée Goud
Blonde trappist 4,8%
Belgo Dubbel IPA
Dubbel IPA 7,7%
Blond ale 6,6%
Double Indian Pale Ale, 7,7%
Blond ale 8,0%
Mörk trappist 7%
Amber ale 8,4%
Some of the beers were brewed for specific occasions (Black Isaak, for example, is the son of head chef Jack Pano). Others are good examples of light and dark lagers, IPA and DIPA.
Some of these were brewed in very small volumes by such prominent brewers as De Molen Brouwerij, De Struise Brouwers, Monks Café & Brewery and Franck Mueller from Riegele.
Imperial stout, alcoholic content varies between brews
Black Isaak is a stout that carries the taste of licorice, barley and tar.
Imperial Stout, 11.2%
A well-balanced beer that very well characterizes the style India Pale Ale.
This brew is also produced by our friends at Van Steenberge in Belgium.
One of our best-sellers and always appreciated. Characterizes the style exceptionally.
Blonde lager, 5.2%
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