What I know about Belgian Beer… so far…

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my favourite pastimes is drinking a cold beer in the sunshine with friends or family… heck sometimes by myself with a book to unwind from a long day. So Belgium should be a perfect fit for me considering it has about 125 breweries, 500 different types of beer, and its residents drink an average of 93 liters of beer annually. Naturally, when I arrived here I was anxious to go out for a ‘terraske’ (Flemish for ‘a little terrace’ in the similar sense that we would ‘go out for a little drink’) and get a beer glass in my hand. Leuven boasts the “Longest Bar” in Belgium located in the Oude Markt (Old Market) that boasts about 40 bars. Is it a coincidence that Longest Bar is in a student city?… I doubt it. It is a tradition for students to try to have a drink at every bar in the Oude Markt at least once. I don’t think many succeed as it would be a very heavy night and might result in a trip to the hospital. I would love to hear from my Belgian friends who managed to carry out this feat ;). The Katholieke Universiteit is the biggest university in Belgium and established in 1425. The first time I saw the Library I stood with my mouth agape, but this is a post about beer not books.

Library of the University

Belgian beers are notorious for being stronger than the average beer as they commonly have an alcohol percentage that varies from 5-11%. There are several different styles such as Trappist, Tripel, Stout, Dubbel, and Abbey. In my research for this post I found this website from a fellow beer enthusiast that is excellent (http://www.beermad.org.uk/writings/belgianbeer.shtml).

The beer culture here is wonderfully complex and I have barely scratched the surface. There are specialty Christmas beers, Beer festivals, and Beer cuisine. I am just starting to accept the importance of specific glasses for different beers when sitting down for a nice drink. There are also various ‘beer drinking rules’ that I am starting to catch on to… aka I commit these faux-pas’ and my boyfriend laughs at me and quickly corrects me to save my social reputation. For instance, DO NOT pour the remaining 2 or 3 inches of your last beer into your new beer, even if it is the same beer. I am apt to doing this in Canada to cut down on the amount of empty glasses sitting in front of me or to help the server so he/she can clear them. I did this and was quickly scolded and then told that this ruins your beer and is a ‘drunk’ move that signals to people that you are completely wasted.

My Favourite Belgian Beers

  1. Kwak

    Kwak Beer and its AWESOME glass. Photo from "A Beginner's Guide to Belgian Beer"

  2. Barbar Honey Ale
  3. Kriek Lindemans
  4. Chimay Bleu
  5. Duvel Vedett (Fun Fact: Every bottle of Vedett has a picture of random person on the bottle. People can go online and upload their picture or of whoever’ and one day when you are enjoying a little terraske you may see a friends face on a bottle. Awesome. http://www.vedett.be.)
  6. Delirium Tremens
  7. La Chouffe
  8. Stella Artois (one I can always rely on)

I have slacked a bit on my beer tasting as I have focused on wine the past month or so and I have forgotten many of the brands I have tried… I wonder how that happened? xo Collector Duvel Tulip Glass. Designs now done by featured artists


2 thoughts on “What I know about Belgian Beer… so far…

    • Haha, in fact last week I discovered Speculoos in a jar. It is creamy, wonderful and way worse for me than peanut butter. Of course it is my new obsession and it goes on fresh bread, apple slices… orr straight out of the jar on a knife. I’ll bring you some back in the winter time 😉

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