The next country on my 12 in 12 is Belgium. Unlike my previous post where I only featured one city, I was able to travel around Belgium for two weeks and visit various cities. I will be highlighting some of the cities, but I wanted to do something different. Since there are four things that come to mind when people think of this small nation – fries, chocolate, waffles, beer – I’ve decided to start off by covering the thing that appealed to me the least. Belgian beer!
“I’m excited to try the fries” – Melody
“I’m dying for a waffle” – Danielle
“Those good Belgian beers are calling me” – Price
“I’ll pass on the beer”- Me
That’s when everyone looked at me like I was crazy. At this point, my new friends and travel buddies knew I was a drinker. So me turning down drinking in a country that’s proclaimed to have the best beer in all of the lands. Blasphemy.
Much to my mother’s dismay, I am not a beer drinker. For the last 12 years , I’ve been trying to acquire a taste for it, but it’s usually a hard pass. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to beer, so give me a nice glass of wine any day.
When I travelled to Belgium, not only did I discover my beer allergy, I also found some brews worth risking my life for….So here are my recommendations of beers you need to try in Belgium if you’re a self-proclaimed wine lover!
All of the beers I’m recommending are lambic beers. I tried a few blondes that a friend had, but none of them were worth me documenting. So sorry to that beer……
So what you need to know is lambic beer is a basic term to describe many different beers. Think of it like Black when describing people of African descent. Sure you’re Black but are you African American, Nigerian, Guyanese, Congolese, Colombian. Everyone has a unique identity and creation story, so do lambic beers.
The main thing that stood out to me the about lambic beers was the sweetness of most of them have as well as the fruity nature. Granted there are some that lack the fruit base, but as a lover of nature’s candy, those were my preferred beverage. lambic beers bring together old and new beers, creating a unique flavor and blend.
During the fermentation process of fruity lambic beers, the whole fruit is consumed, which results in strong fruit flavors and vibrant liquids. Additionally, these beers are exposed to wild yeast during the process. You’re left with something that is punchy, funky, sour, and unlike anything that’s ever touched your taste buds when enjoying an alcoholic beverage.
If you are a chardonnay lover, you’ll enjoy a gueuze. This lambic beer comes with a dryness that is akin to a full-body chardonnay. As previously mentioned, this type of beer is a blend, bringing together the old and the new, it carries with it hints of oak from the aging process. Those who are chardonnay lovers, know it is one of the few white wines aged in an oak barrel, adding to the similarities. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it as a whiskey lover.
Unlike the other fruity options listed here, it lacks extra sweetness. Think of it as brut champagne. What it lacks in sweetness, it offers in complexity thanks to the unique fermentation process which involves a second fermentation.
What I noticed first was the green color of this beer, and I immediately knew I had to have one. First impressions were it was easy to drink and reminded me more of a juice than a beer. It has a citrusy and floral smell to it which was inviting. It is definitely on the sweeter side with a hint of sourness to it. It’s 4.2 % ABV and has a bit of fizz to it. Despite the low ABV, I would definitely try this drink out again if I returned to Belgium. It would make for a fun, refreshing summertime sip. If you’re a fan of muscadine wines, this is one for you to try.
As a bonus, from what I’ve gathered from social media, all of the Floris beers except Floris Honey are vegan friendly. So that’s another plus for all my crunchy peeps out there.
Not only am I a wine lover, I have been known to throw back several ciders at a kickback. So when I saw an apple beer, not cider, I was intrigued. My first thought was it was like drinking a granny smith apple. Clean but tart with an underlying sweetness. The only thing missing with the crunch when you take that first bite. Similar to cider, this is a beer with a light and bright yellow color. The best part is the smells exactly how it tastes.
The best thing I could compare it to would be the Appletiser , but an alcoholic version of it. It’s carbonated and a bit dry. I would say out of all the lambic beers I tried, this was the least dimensional.
I would call this a mild beer. If you’re not a beer drinker, you’ll be reminded that it is beer, but it doesn’t smack you in the face saying “I’m a beer!” If you’re a fan of a California and German riesling, this would be the beer for you. It’s a good intro and beginner-friendly drink.
It’s full body with a sweetness that would go well with some goat cheese and crackers. If you’re like me, you think riesling and goat cheese pair well. If you haven’t tried it out, remedy that. It isn’t overbearingly sweet, which in turn makes it easy to finish. As someone who has had sparkling peach wine, I found this beer to be much more enjoyable. Make of that what you will.
I was told by a very kind Belgian, if I tried nothing else during my time in Belgium, I must at least take a sip of a Kriek. That advice was some of the best I received. Kriek is a Dutch word meaning cherry. This beer is tart, sweet, dry, and fruity. Some say the sweetness reminds them of cherry-flavored cough medicine they were forced to drink as a kid, but I never had cherry-flavored cough medicine as a kid, so I can’t relate.
I tried a few different Krieks in Belgium, but the one I’ve come back to time and time again like an old lover is the Mort Subite Oude Kriek. It has a cider-like taste to it with a beautiful garnet color to complement said taste. If you’re a rosé all day kind of person, this is the beer for you. It is the perfect lambic beer.
With that, we’ve reached the end. I hope this was informative. I know next to nothing about beer, so I had a bunch of fun learning about the fermentation and aging process of lambic beers. Often, I found myself comparing it to the process of creating champagne. I am excited to return to Belgium and go on a few brewery tours, so I can learn even more. As much as I enjoy the drinking at the end of tours, there’s nothing like nerding out and gaining information I can use at future pub quizzes.