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Dad is headed to Belgium, what should he try/bring back?

Discussion in 'Benelux' started by Nachos4two, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Nachos4two

    Nachos4two Advocate (545) Illinois Nov 26, 2011

    So My Dad is headed to Belgium in early September and he was asking what he should try and bring back that he cannot obtain in the states? Any or all suggestions would be great. I was also going to see if he can grab some nice glassware as well. He emailed me a list below and asked what isn't available here....
    http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/country/belgium/23/
  2. Cantillon and De Cam should be priorities. I'd say Drie Fonteinen too but they're relatively easier to find in the US than those two.
  3. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Texas Apr 11, 2012

    For starters:

    Cantillon
    Drie Fontenein
    Rodenbach Caractere Rouge
    Westvleteren XII
  4. Benish

    Benish Savant (460) Wisconsin Mar 13, 2013

    I asked my parents to go to Belgium.
  5. Dreizhen

    Dreizhen Savant (315) France Jun 6, 2013

    Cantillon (buy it at the brewery in Anderlecht, a neighborhood of Brussels). It's incredibly overpriced everywhere else in Brussels (not by American standards, but just by the fact that you can buy it for half price at the brewery down the street).
    Westvleteren of all three kinds. Have him go to the source, but if they can't it's available at Der Bier Tempel for 12, 10, and 9 euros, if I remember correctly. I couldn't find it any cheaper in Brussels.

    If either of you like cocktails, ask for Amer Picon. It can be found in the Del Haize grocery store for like 12 euro. Makes for a fantastic drink called a Picon Bier. Amer Picon isn't distributed to the US.
  6. zid

    zid Savant (355) New York Feb 15, 2010

    Pack with extreme care if you go down that road.
  7. kdb150

    kdb150 Savant (490) Pennsylvania Mar 8, 2012

    If you're lucky, Fou Foune will have been released by then and he can grab 6 of them for you.
  8. Speaking as someone who has been to Brussels before and regrets not bringing more back...

    Westvleteren and Cantillon. And definitely buy the Cantillon at the brewery. It's pretty easy to get there via the local tram (the STIB). There is a stop just a couple blocks away.

    Many of the other classic Belgian beers (Westmalle, Chimay, Rochefort, St. Bernardus) can be obtained here in the states without too crazy a markup. You'll want to spend your suitcase real estate and the hassle of bringing them back on harder-to-get beers.
  9. Dreizhen

    Dreizhen Savant (315) France Jun 6, 2013

    Oh, and for stuff he should try:

    St. Bernardus Abt 12
    Rochefort 6, 8, 10
    Tripel Karmeliet
    Westmalle Dubble and Tripel
    Chimay Blue, Red, White

    They're all dirt cheap at the aforementioned grocery store, though not all are available at all locations. Tell him not to buy any of these at the tourist beer stores, as he will be priced gauged.
  10. zid

    zid Savant (355) New York Feb 15, 2010

    That's a really great suggestion, but "cocktails" is such a broad family. I'd order one, but many Americans would be disgusted by mixing a bitter aperitif and beer.
  11. make sure he hits the duty free on the way home. they don't have any rare stuff but you can get westmalle, rochefort, la chouffe etc gift packs (with glassware) for dirt cheap without having to worry about packing it with your luggage.
  12. I've got to go off topic, here; Am I the only one that thinks it's a shame his dad uses RateBeer instead of the best beer community on the planet in BeerAdvocate?
    Nachos4two likes this.
  13. Dreizhen

    Dreizhen Savant (315) France Jun 6, 2013

    Yeah, that's fair. In the sense of more traditional cocktails, it's an ingredient in the wonderful and somewhat famous Brooklyn cocktail. But for what you'll actually see it used for in Belgium, the Picon Bier is more "authentic." As a fan of booze in general, I love both (and just Amer Picon, in general).

    As a point of reference, Picon Bier tastes like a dark chocolate orange beer.
  14. trevorjk

    trevorjk Savant (310) Netherlands Aug 28, 2009

    The top beers by style, location, ect on rate beer is a nice feature ;)

    But, to answer the original posters questions. Do a bit of research. If it is distributed by AB-Inbev... then you can get it in the states most likely.... or you dont want to try it.

    Cantillon is stop 1 in Belgium. Some of the best Sours bar none.

    If your dad doesnt like sours, then try any of the local beers. A LOT of belgium beers do not make it to America actually. But be ready to mostly have a Blonde, Bruin, Dubbel, Triple, Quad, Sour, or Flemish style beer.

    IMO, have him try Delirium Red. It is a fruit beer made with Cherries. It is the only Delirium that does not make it state side. A damn fine, and dangerous, 10% fruit beer

    Kasteel Cuvee Chateau. Rodenbach Charactre Rouge. are top of my list.

    De Struise... Sure you can get stuff stateside. But there best beers never make it state side ;)
  15. kdb150

    kdb150 Savant (490) Pennsylvania Mar 8, 2012


    Drie Fonteinen, particularly Schaerbeekse and some of their recent one-offs are difficult or impossible to find here, and cost a fortune if you see them. They might not be much more available there, but worth looking for and bringing back. I also almost never see Fantome beyond a recent round of Saison that popped up here, so some of those are probably worth bringing back. Ditto some of the Black Albert variations and other Struise specialties. Also, De Dolle Oerbier Reserva is a must-have.

    Of course, these might not be much more available there than they are here, but I would look for them. In fact, I will look for them when I travel to Belgium in November.
  16. I remembered 3F, but didn't include it because I see it online consistently enough that I think I could get it if I wanted. Of course, at what cost is another story entirely, and which of their beers is also a question. The ones I see are the Oude Gueuze and the Golden Blend. So yeah, that's probably another good one.

    But I totally forgot about Fantome. I've only had one bottle--Saison Printemps--and I wasn't that impressed, but I chalked it up to the green bottle and what I've heard about Fantome's consistency issues. But yes, that would certainly be a good one to bring back.
  17. Tut

    Tut Savant (390) New York Sep 23, 2004

    Those beers are all widely distributed here. When I'm in Belgium I seek out the beers I can't get in the US. You can only drink a certain number of beers in a short visit. Why waste even one opportunity on something that's plentiful at home?
  18. Nachos4two

    Nachos4two Advocate (545) Illinois Nov 26, 2011

    what do you seek out not distro in states?
  19. Dreizhen

    Dreizhen Savant (315) France Jun 6, 2013

    Because they're 1/3 or 1/4 the price. I suppose it depends on how long you're there. I was in the country for 2 months. You can't drink rare beer every time you drink beer over that long of a period, at least on my budget. Given his dad might be a total baller or willing to throw down way more than me, at some point you're just going to want to grab some stuff to enjoy en masse. These are all great beers that are enjoyable in the US but are way over priced in comparison to Belgium prices. Bring home the rare stuff, enjoy this while you're there. That was my strategy and I left very happy.

    However, I'm also coming from this as a person who will be back to Belgium many times. If this is your dad's likely only visit, getting the Belgian only-ish stuff makes more sense.

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