THE TOP 10 BELGIAN BEERS
According to our beer experts
A tiny country with a huge beer tradition - yes, we’re of course talking about Belgium, where beer culture is so vital to the fabric of the nation that it’s officially protected by the UN.
Belgium is one of the 100 smallest countries in the world. But when it comes to beer, this little nation is one of the biggest and most famous there is. They take beer very seriously and are proud to brew some of the best-known beers in the world. Next time you're in Belgium try and tick a few off from this list, they won't disappoint.
Of course, it’s very difficult to create a list of the best, because ultimately that’s down to personal preference. There are, however, a few reputable brands that are well respected for their traditions, methods and classic brews. No list of the best Belgian beers can exclude these, they’re famous for a reason!
We’ve come up with our list of the best Belgian beers based on a number of factors, such as:
So without further ado, allow us to offer up our list of the top Belgian beers!
The sunny design of the bottles already suggests when to drink this blonde beer. This Duvel is very drinkable with a light and refreshing, yet malty, taste.
Like the name suggests, the ABV of this beer is 6,66% and 6 different hop varieties are used in the brewing process. Sounds delicious right?
Belgian Blond has been a very popular beer style for years. That’s not that surprising: good blond beer is tasty and subtle, firm, but not too heavy.
One beer that fits that description no end is Affligem Blond. This special abbey beer has a delicate white head and a soft, rich taste. The typical Affligem yeast gives a nice, fruity touch to our best-selling Blond. This one is also a regularly cited favourite amongst the Beerwulf team.
The first dark beer in our list and also the first Trappist beer is Fort Lapin 8 Tripel.
Are you a fan of Tripels, but less so into dark beers? Let yourself be convinced by the king of Chimay! The dark malt remains subtle; you’ll taste it in the form of caramel and toffee but with additional notes of coriander.
Few beers have reached this level of iconic status. Powerful, tasty, accessible and dangerously easy to drink: that's a Duvel.
With an alcohol percentage of 8.5%, Duvel is a typical Belgian powerhouse. The alcohol gives it sweetness, while the hop varieties Saaz and Styrian Golding provide a fruity, orangey character.
The finish is tight and slightly peppery. It’s strong, but not complicated, and a Duvel always tastes great. My tip? It’s even better with a portion of fish and chips on the side.
With its solid position in the top 10 of our best-selling beers, Pauwel Kwak is here to stay. In this amber-coloured beer you can taste toffee and spicy tones, together with an orange-like fruitiness. It is soft, sweet and slightly bitter, and it’s loved by many.
Almost as world-famous as the beer itself is the beer glass in the wooden holder. The story goes that if you order a Pauwel Kwak, you have to give your own shoe as a guarantee for this special glass. You can recognise a bar that serves Kwak by the special shoe basket they have on the ceiling.
According to many, the inventor of the Tripel style is none other than Westmalle. Westmalle Tripel is brewed within the walls of Our Lady's Abbey of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and thus it’s the second recognised Trappist beer in our list.
Whether the story of how this beer originated is true or not, the fact is that Westmalle was the first brewer to give the name Tripel to their heaviest beer, after which many other brewers followed.
And yes, it truly is a fantastic Tripel, full of yummy fruit aromas of banana and pear with a certain spicy touch. The beer is also quite hopped, which balances beautifully with the firm body and sweetness.
At 9.2%, Rochefort 8, the heaviest beer on our list is another recognised trappist. This is no surprise, since Belgium is home to 6 of the 14 Trappist breweries.
This strong, dark beer is really one to enjoy quietly. It has a tawnier colour than its counterpart. It has a very rich dryness, like that of a cake, which gives a balanced finish to the final notes.
The soul of this beer is the yeast, which gives its own flavour. The Rochefort 6 and 10 are also brewed with the same beers, and these are also beautiful beers that are more than worth a try!
A list of the best Belgian beers list is not complete without the world famous La Chouffe. What has certainly contributed to the fame of this beer is the friendly little guy on the label. If someone says they want “the gnome/dwarf beer”, then you know it’s La Chouffe!
The beer itself looks seductive with its golden colour and firm head. What many people notice first are the notes of coriander, orange peel and mandarin. It tastes pleasantly sweet, but fruity and fresh. The finish is soft and a little spicy, just how you want this beer to end.
Number 9 is an outsider. Is it an IPA or a Tripel? Maybe it is both. Troubadour Magma has the typical fruit flavours of an IPA, like passion fruit, citrus and mango, nicely combined with fruity yeast flavours of apple and pineapple. The biscuit-like malt flavour will remind you of an IPA, but the body and amount of alcohol (9%) is more typical of a tripel.
Nevertheless, the Musketeer brewers dared to make something different, instead of choosing the safe option with a classic Tripel. Cheers to that!
We end this list with perhaps the most adventurous beer, because an Orval always tastes different. This is due to the Brettanomyces (Brett) yeast that ensures that the beer continues to develop. This means you can discover something new every time! You can find the bottling date on each bottle of Orval.
A young Orval is still a bit sweet and hoppy. Over time, this trappist becomes dryer, more sparkling and more complex. A sour note develops with typical Brett aromas, which are best described as farmyard or a horse blanket. It’s truly a beauty of a beer that never gets boring!
Orval is a recognised Trappist beer. The monks brew as much beer as their way of life allows, but the demand is many times bigger - which is why Orval is often sold out. This popularity only confirms the place of this magnificent beer in our top 10!