No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

Erik's Highlights: There is a beer for everyone


Email  •  Print

Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2013-08-19 10:50:58 +0200 / Last Updated: over 2 years ago

beer in belgium, a beer everyone © Marco Mertens


‘What do you think is the best beer?’ You know this type of awkward question. In fact, it’s not really answerable as there is no such thing as the ‘best beer’. The wonderful thing Fruitig Biereke Fruitig Biereke
© BeerTourism.com
about Belgian beer is that you will always find a brew to suit your mood and taste at any given moment.

After an autumnal walk in the Ardennes a dark abbey beer in the evening, in front of an open fire, goes down extremely well. When I am tasting a Rochefort 8, I immediately get images of woods drenched in a multi-coloured palette with sweeping brush strokes.

Hans Wierts of Brewery DijkWaert in Herentals knows where I’m coming from. His inspiration also comes from what he sees, feels and smells around him. So, an autumnal forest walk has led to the creation of 'Bos Bier' which reflects earthy aromas and tastes.

“I try to retain this experience in the beer,” he says. Here, the seasons play a major role. A 'Fruitig Biereke' is perfect for summer, a 'Bos Bier' is more suited to the autumn. Although a wet summer provides the perfect excuse to blur the seasonal lines...


© BeerTourism.com


Keeping An Open Mind

A blue sky with a brilliantly shiny sun calls for a glass of something light and fresh. A popular choice such as a pils, a fresh and slightly sour witbier, Vlaams roodbruin, a slightly more Bolleke, De Koninck, beer, Belgian beer, Antwerp, Flanders De Koninck
© BeerTourism.com
pronounced lambic or a gueuze. I leave all options open and put away my blinkers. Far be it from me to call myelf a connaisseur.

I admire zythologists who fill entire volumes on the contents of their glasses. However, I have found that the more I taste, the more discerning I become.

I often find a beer too insipid, too sweet, too average, or I come across the next big thing and find that it is not particularly inspirational. But, I remain open to new experiences and I try not to lean immediately on my established beer criteria.

However, every new Tripel, whether I like it or not, will be put to the test against the Westmalle and every amber beer I am asked to taste is compared with a De Koninck ‘bolleke’, which currently takes first place on my personal medal podium. Some things in life are set in stone (and I am now abandoning any attempt at objectivity).

When ordering a ‘bolleke’ in a café, I will expect the beer to be served in a tulip-shaped glass, finished off with a lovely frothy collar as thick as two fingers. Pouring is done in two stages and in between them, the glass will be given a rest for a few seconds as time does its work beautifully.

This slow ritual is part of the process, just like a freshly poured Guinness that takes on the appearance of milky coffee for a few seconds before turning into the pint that we all know and love.


© BeerTourism.com


To Drink Or To Taste, That's The Question...

I don’t want to play safe and I love a surprise. When, in Bruges, I tried a Viven IPA for the first time and was able to taste pure grapefruit Ardennes Brasserie d'Achouffe
© BeerTourism.com
- a revelation! I was unfamiliar with the overseas aroma hops used. Nowadays, these provide the character in quite a few new beers. “We search for balance in the glass,” as many Belgian brewers will tell you.

Not too sweet, too sour or too bitter. “A beer is only really good if you fancy a second glass,” according to Chris Bauweraerts, co-founder of Brasserie d’Achouffe (La Chouffe).

But even then, it’s all about the occasion and the mood you’re in. Do I want to have another one or just try a special beer that I haven’t heard of before? How much time do I have to enjoy myself? Tossing back a heavy beer, because you’re short on time – definitely not recommended.


Recent Blog Posts

Trappist beer meets whisky, Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018
At the BeerLovers’ Café just behind Liège’s City Hall we get together to taste the limited edition Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018, a Trappist beer aged in whisky barrels. ... [ read more ]
Palm and Rodenbach - now under the banner of Swinkels Family Brewers
LIESHOUT/STEENHUFFEL - Since 2016 the Palm, De Hoorn and Rodenbach breweries have been owned by Bavaria, a Dutch-based brewer. Two years after the takeover, Bavaria has been re-named Swinkels Family ... [ read more ]
The Brewers Of Europe Forum 2018
BRUSSELS - To be authentic is not a competition and neither is it a fashionable attitude. You either are an authentic brewer or you are not. You are driven, you make great beers that have a soul, you ... [ read more ]
Zythos 2018. Watch out… there’s some heritage about!
LEUVEN - 12,500 fans made their way to Leuven for what was already the 15th edition of the Zythos beer festival. Many fans travelled a long way to get to Belgium. They flocked here from many European ... [ read more ]
Showcasing the Belgian art of living, Horecatel 2018
MARCHE-EN-FAMENNE - “Their cuisine is on a par with that of the French and the portions are generous...” When people discuss the Belgian art of living, it won’t be long before the term ‘Burgundian’ ... [ read more ]

Comments


  • I think about beer's avatar I think about beer - Excellent post! This is the beer lover's dilemma. What to drink? You don't want to miss out on some new amazing beer experience by selecting some unknown new item, but what if one of your favorites is on the list? That was "problem" during my trip to Belgium. Also, it was fun to walk through Antwerp with my local host and get the commentary on which places served a proper bolleke and which places should be avoided. (about 5 years ago)



  • You must be logged in to leave a comment


    SHARE:
     



    BLOG

    POSTS
    Erik's Highlights: Unmissable Belgian beer must do’s

    SCHOTEN - All these endless lists… you know where I’m coming from. All those things you want to do, or stop doing, before you blow out any more candles on your birthday cake. All those beers you want to try; all those br... [ more ]

    Erik's Highlights: Brewing in Bokrijk & Herkenrode

    BOKRIJK/HERKENRODE - On Sunday, 15th September Bokrijk Open Air Museum will host a special event at which you can discover everything edible and drinkable in the wild world of flora and fauna. You’ll witness demonstr... [ more ]

    Erik's Highlights: Having a beer at the source

    What could be better than a café that brews its own beer? Somewhere where you can see the brewer feeding the kettle right in front of you. Where you can witness the miracle, clouded by steam, th... [ more ]

    Erik's Highlights: The stars of the brewing kettle

    Take an unbranded glass and taste a blond, an amber, a bruin or a rood. I’d like to know if you can guess the beer and the brewery every single time. This gets even harder if the test comprises some lesser known or hard ... [ more ]

    Erik's highlights: Beer games & distilling Belgian brewers

    Beer author Christian Deglas has said it before: “wine drinkers look into their glass, beer drinkers look at each other”. Playing dice or cards is far more enjoyable with a pint on the side, something that has not change... [ more ]

    Cuvee_du_chateau225

    More Beer

    De Cuvée du Chateau is the crown jewel within the Kasteel range and has been brewed since 2010. It found its inspiration in the subterranean cellars of Ingelmunster Castle. Aft... [ more ]

    Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

    Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.

    Name:
    Email:
    TWITTER
      FACEBOOK