Belgian beer styles are more popular than ever. However, one cannot talk about THE beer style “Belgian beer”, as there are a large number of different beer styles from Belgium.
The Belgian beer culture is largely characterized by the contrasts of experimentation and tradition. There is a lot of experimentation with fruits, barrel aging, and special types of fermentation.
A lambic is, for example, a beer style in which fermentation begins in the brewing process through spontaneous fermentation (wild yeast strains, lactic acid bacteria, etc. in the air). This creates a slightly sour beer taste. Brussels is probably the best known and most important region for this.
Krieks are beers that are characterized by the use of fruits in the brewing process.
A gueze is also a Belgian beer style in which the experimental urge is clearly evident. The “méthode champenoise” (blend method) is used here, in which older and younger lambic beers are mixed together.
Nevertheless, the long tradition of Belgian beers must not be forgotten. For several centuries, monks have been brewing their famous Trappist beer in Trappist monasteries. Only beers that adhere to strict guidelines are allowed to carry the “Authentic Trappiste Product” quality logo. Currently there are only 12 Trappist breweries that are officially allowed to call their beer Trappist beer. These include the Chimay , La Trappe Trappiste , Brasserie Rochefort , Westmalle, Westvleteren and Orval breweries.
In general, Belgian beers are characterized by their high alcohol content. Since a previous law banned the liquor bar, beers with high alcohol content were brewed to circumvent the law and replace the liquor.
Belgian beer has even been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2016.