We Sent Our Foreign Correspondent to Belgium and All She Did Was Drink Beer

I recently went to Belgium, Brussels and Bruges to be specific.  During this trip I drank many beers. I am a beer enthusiast, in that I like to drink and try different beers. Don’t expect snooty language about palates and essences (except for “quaffable” but that’s just fun to say). So here are some simple reviews of several Belgian beers by someone who likes to drink beer but doesn’t know much about it.  Beers are reviewed in the order I consumed them as a travelled from Brussels to Bruges and back.

These beers were enjoyed in Brussels:

Our first stop is at Poechenellekelder  (bless you if you try to say this).  This restaurant is just down the street from the famous Mannekin Pis statue.  They do not serve fries.

Beers the First and Second!
1. Géants Goliath Triple (9%)
Fruity with a light flavor, not bitter, hints of pear with a touch of yeastiness.  Enjoyable for a warm day.
2. Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait (8%)
Fancy name for a sour and tangy beer.   It has an after taste of blue cheese.  It is definitely distinct.  This is a sipping and sharing beer.

Beers the Third through Eleventh!
At L’Imaige Nostre-Dame.

This hole in the alley is quite quaint.  It can be known to be smokey, so be careful of that.  Otherwise I really enjoyed it.

3. Pauwel Kwak (8.4%)
Cherry flavors with a slightly bitter cloying finish.  It is not overly sweet for being cherry flavored.  Kwak is served in a strange rounded bottom glass that has its own special stand.  It cannot stay upright on its own.
4. Lindemans Framboise(2.5%)
This is delicious.  It’s basically slightly alcoholic raspberry soda.  It’s fizzy and sweet but not sickeningly so.  If you don’t like beer, try this.  If you do like beer, try this.

5. Kasteel Rouge (8%)
Strong cherry flavor upfront.  Hay and oat finish.  A little cough syrupy.

6. Triple Karmeliet (8.4%)
Light flavor with hints of clove and wheat.  Quite quaffable.

7. Malheur (6% or 10%)
Very hoppy.  Tastes the way pot smells.
8. Maes Pilsner (5.2%)
Crisp with a slightly hoppy finish.
Very similar to Budweiser in taste and drinkability.
***Beers 9-11were had at A la Mort Subite***

9.Mort Subite Blanche (4.2%)
Tastes like peaches and cream candy.  Get one and share it.

10. Mort Subite Framboise (4.5%)
Similar to the Lindemans Framboise, easily drinkable, strong raspberry flavor.

11. Grimbergen Dubbel (6.5%)
A little bit malty.  Chocolate and toffee.  Polite and inoffensive.  Get a six pack to drink while hanging out with friends.
Grimbergen Dubbel Mort Subite

A la Mort Subite is more like a cafeteria, but all wooden, than a restaurant or bar. The staff is friendly and accommodating.

Also, raspberry lambics are to beer as cheesecake is to cheese.

These beers were enjoyed in Bruges:

Beer the Twelfth!
(Twelfth is a weird word)
Brugse Zot Beer the Twelfth was consumed at De Halve Maan Brewery. It is the only remaining brewery in old town Bruges. You can tour their facilities and their English speaking guide (at the time of writing this) is a delightful girl from Juneau, Alaska.

12. Brugse Zot (6%)
Slightly bitter and sour but easily drinkable.
Has some slight taste of spice, maybe clove?
Beers the Thirteenth-Sixteenth!
At Het Hof Van Rembrant
13. Rochefort Trappistes (10%)
Slightly sour with strong cherry aroma.  Very smooth.

14. Bourgogne des Flandres (5%)
Sweet with some chocolatey flavors.  Sort of a coppery/irony finish but minimal after-taste.
15. Engelszell Gregorious (10.5%)
Slightly coppery with a strong tastes of raisins and chocolate.

16. Waterloo Tripel 7 Blonde (7.5%)
Sweet and inoffensive.  This beer is unremarkable.  I mostly got it because it’s in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo.  Also it came in a ceramic chalice.

The Bruges Beer Museum is worth your money and time.  At the very least it has a nice bar with a great view of the main market square.  At the beer museum, I learned about the history of beer and various beer making processes.  I was most interested in the Trappist Beer policies as there are only 11 Trappist breweries in the world.

To be a trappist beer the following must be observed:

  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
  • The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life
  • The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.
  • Trappist breweries are constantly monitored to assure the irreproachable quality of their beers.
There are 11 recognized trappist breweries –
Belgium has 6, Netherlands has 2, and Austria, United States, and Italy each have 1.
What’s a beer museum without being able to sample beer?
I sampled many beers.
Beers the Seventeenth – Twenty-Fourth
17.Palm Blonde (5.4%)
Light and malty.  Budweiser-esque in flavor but smoother.

18. Boon Kriek (4%)
Tastes like cherry pie.  After-taste is somewhat cough syrup flavored.
19. Steenbrugge Wit (5%)
Yeasty with touches of cardamon.  Very refreshing, would be good pool-side.

20. Steenbrugge Dubbel (6.5%)
Okay and soft.  Not bitter.  Smooth.
21. Brugge Lentegruut – Seizoengruut (8.7%)
Slightly fruity, maybe citrusy with clove and cardamon.  (I really just like cardamon).  Very fresh tasting.

22. Rodenbach Foederbier (6%)
Caramel with sour notes.  It has a slight cloyingness.
I promise these are different beers from numbers 21 & 22.

23. Palm Cornet (8.5%)
Vanilla and oak flavors.  A little hoppy.  A little bitter.

24. Rodenbach Rosso (4%)
Almost wine like. Slight sourness and acidity with cherry flavors.

At some point I ended up at Delaney’s, an Irish bar/restaurant.  The inside was partially decorated like the outside of a medieval castle.  I think someone asked what was in Ireland and the answer that came back was clovers and castles.

Beers the Twenty-Seventh & Eighth
(Eighth is also a weird word)
27. Brugse Zot Dubbel (7.5%)
Cherry and oak flavors.  Tastes kind of woody.

28. Chimay Red (7%)
Creamy and slightly sweet. Inoffensive.

These beers were enjoyed back in Brussels:

Beers Twenty-Ninth & Thirtieth!
At a random restaurant near the Brussels train station.
29. Omer Traditional Blonde (8%)
Slightly sour and malty with a cloying feel.

30. Chimay Blue (9%)
Slightly sour.  No strong flavors.  Drinkable.

Belgians seem to like their cherry and raspberry flavored beers.  But who am I kidding?  I loved the raspberry beers.  It was like alcoholic soda.  Who doesn’t want that?  Only people who don’t want you to be happy.  That’s who.  Honestly,  I really liked the Karmeliet and the Lentegruut.

L’Imaige Nostre-Dame and the Beer Museum are my picks for where to go to try the beers.

In conclusion, Belgium has many fine beers and beer drinking establishments.  I believe I was told over 800 or so beers and probably that many establishments.  In fact, Belgium may be one big bar.  I clearly need to go back and investigate further.  Also more fries.  And waffles.

This article was submitted by a guest contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editors of the monthly spew. The editors do not condone believing in the existence of Belgium.  Or any countries that think it is appropriate to begin their name with a “B”.  


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