Are Belgian (style) beers no longer popular?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by JackHorzempa, May 9, 2021.

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  1. thebeeremptor

    thebeeremptor (383) Aug 12, 2018 California
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    I'm currently the beer buyer for a liquor store. I've been running it for nearly three years now. I currently lead a district of eight stores and it's top 30 within the company. While I far outsell every other store in my district in that disdainful seltzer category, my sales in craft far exceed that of every other category. We don't carry any of these hype lactose/slushie beers you've been mentioning so they're not even factored in.

    Yes, this past year has been gloomy but not because "real beer" is doomed.

    I think social media has weighed a little heavily on your perspective of what is really popular in beer. The very same people who are into these hype beers are exactly the type to share it on social media, thus there's a skew toward these beers on those platforms, particularly Untappd.

    I never claimed I thought Belgian/German beers weren't exciting. I said the people that are going for those beers you've mentioned are simply not interested in those beers because there isn't any newness, or they would have been shopping in other categories that are not related to beer because "real beer" is not interesting to them.

    I'm not sure you really read what I had to say, or cared to understand it. Or I'm being baited. In any case, maybe crack open a nice pils and take a second to reflect. Cheers. :beer:
     
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  2. thebeeremptor

    thebeeremptor (383) Aug 12, 2018 California
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    @ColinPHubbell

    I realize also now that my starting line may be came off as slightly hostile, which I did not intend. I simply meant someone who may not be directly involved in the industry or in sales, retail, etc. That was presumptive and I was slightly drunk when writing my original reply, for which I apologize.
     
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  3. dlcarst

    dlcarst (334) Aug 21, 2015 Missouri
    Trader

    Lots of Belgian-style saisons available here in St. Louis, but I'd like to see some more tripels and quads. Schlafly hasn't brewed theirs in years. I can't remember the last time I had a tripel or a quad that wasn't Trappist, Boulevard, or Ommegang.
     
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  4. BB1313

    BB1313 (0) Jul 16, 2009 Ohio
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    It's sad to think that Belgian beers might not be as popular as they once were.. it's hard to beat a well done Tripel, BDSA, Quad or any Belgian-style brew for that matter.. the only thing that holds me back sometimes is price and value.. but the craftsmanship usually justifies the price, more or less.. Americanized versions of Belgian beers might usually be a notch below their overseas counterparts in some cases, but they're still pretty enjoyable for what they are..
     
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  5. Gajo74

    Gajo74 (996) Sep 14, 2014 New York
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    I’ve been on a bit of a Saison kick lately as a few local breweries in my area have been releasing their versions of the style. I suppose it’s apropos of the season and the warm weather.
    Belgian styles will never go out of style with me. Duvel will always continue to be a beer I can drink for any occasion.
     
  6. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 (0) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
    Trader

    When I first got into craft beer the Belgian styles where the ones that got me hooked. There was always a quad or dubel in my fridge. As much as I do love them I just don’t find myself buying them as much these days. But I also buy less beer overall, so...????
     
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  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Is there a specific reason why?

    Cheers!
     
  8. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 (0) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
    Trader

    Not really. I still enjoy them every time I pick them up. There are just so many options these days.
     
  9. defunksta

    defunksta (873) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
    Society Trader

    I do hope there is a revival of the Belgian-style beer. They have such complex and delicious flavors. I tried Surly's Get Loud the other day which was basically a hazy Belgian IPA. It had American NEIPA citrus notes and soft mouthfeel with a complex Belgian flavor profile. I could see this being a new trend that catches on and evolves from the current haze chase. Hopefully Belgian beers make a comeback!
     
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  10. Givemebeer

    Givemebeer (0) Apr 6, 2013 Vermont

    I had a saison today. It was great. Would like to see more breweries put out Tripels and Dubbels.
     
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  11. Mugman8

    Mugman8 (0) Sep 30, 2018 New York

    My biggest problem with the Belgians is they are way over-priced. There's a couple of exceptions like Houblon La Chouffe, but I'm not regularly going to pay $20 for a four-pack of Delerium.....it's not that good and there's plenty of US beers that are better and $5-$10 cheaper.
     
  12. distantmantra

    distantmantra (745) May 23, 2011 Washington
    Trader

    Saison and Lambic? Still popular. If I could drink nothing but Saison Dupont and Fantome I'd be a happy camper.

    Tripel, Dubbel and Quad? Nope. Tripels are just too sugary sweet for my liking, but a Quad is nice to sip on for an extended period of time.
     
  13. pants678

    pants678 (485) Jan 26, 2009 California
    Trader

    I buy fewer Belgians as I've had most success brewing malt driven beer. Still, I can get Tripel Karmeliet & Straffe Hendrik Quad with ease and I don't want that changing. Wish there was a local brewery regularly doing Belgian styles. If such a brewery applied the same degree of variation that's going into IPAs, sours & stouts they'd get plenty of my money.

    I'll echo a few points that imperial stouts are what most people think of for high ABV. Marketing-wise, it's easier to articulate the difference between stouts than it is for dubbels, tripels & quads. Sours I figure have cut into the saison market. The saison specific breweries are all, to me, actually sour breweries. Finding my palette's fit for the right amount of tart for a saison is tough-- if only Logsdon's Oak Aged Bretta was regularly available in my parts...
     
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  14. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 (0) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
    Trader

    Very fair assessment.

    When I buy the style I do stick to the Trappist or brewed in Belgium beers. I’ve had American try’s at the style and they aren’t worth it in one mans opinion. And I’m a super homer. Go AMERICA!
     
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  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    That may be true for you area but there are many high quality Belgian style beers brewed by craft breweries in the Northeastern US (and Canada).

    Cheers!
     
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  16. Amendm

    Amendm (745) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island
    Society

    I think there has been a drop in popularity in this here vicinity.
    Belgian imports and locally brewed Belgian styles face several challenges in today's market.
    One is that they a not usually murky, especially if they are decanted.
    Another is that they tend to be malt forward and light on hops, except for Belgian IPAs.
    They generally have simple labels and not modern art disasters.
    They usually don't have strange added ingredients, adjuncts if you will.
    And the #1 reason for the decline in Belgian beer accessibility........they are not NEIPAs, same problem many great styles face. Cheers anyway.
     
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  17. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 (0) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
    Trader

    Names please. Maybe I’m just passing over the good ones, but always willing to try if I can get them here in TX.
     
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Ommegang makes a number of high quality Belgian ales. Unibroue does as well.

    I am a fan of the Tripels that are produced by Weyerbacher and Victory.

    And there are others.

    Or you can do what I do and just homebrew your own. I recently brewed a Dubbel. In a few weeks I will be brewing a Quad. And later in the summer (August) I will be brewing my annual batch of a Saison.

    Cheers!

    P.S. Another US craft brewery that produces Belgian Ales that I enjoy drinking is Boulevard.
     
  19. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 (0) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
    Trader

    Yeah, Ommegan and Boulvard aren’t bad but don’t hold a candle to Chimay, Rochefort, St. Bernardus, and LaChoffe. These are easy for me to find. Golden Draak isn’t bad either.
     
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  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    They are 'better' than "not bad" for my palate. With the benefit of being easier on the wallet. Same is true for the Tripels from Victory and Weyerbacher.

    But for completeness the majority of Belgian Ales I drink are my homebrewed beers. I brand my Dubbel as "Better than Chimay" and it truly is for my palate.

    Cheers!
     
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  21. keithmurray

    keithmurray (815) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut
    Society

    The reasons for me are:
    Availability - Belgians just arent as 'available' as I think they were about 6-7 years ago.

    Price - lately, Ive had to keep an eye on what I spend as far as my beer budget. Hard to make budgets stretch when a 4 pack costs between $18-25 for the quality Belgian stuff. Working on getting some more income streams so that I can go back to enjoying an occasional Belgian but for now, I , for the most part, have to bypass the Belgians due to price.
     
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I hear you here. The price of Trappist beers is a strong motivator for why I choose to homebrew these beer styles.

    Cheers!
     
  23. JSullivan

    JSullivan (335) Aug 18, 2010 Massachusetts

    Very true. Belgians are by far the best bang for your buck beers to homebrew, IMO.
     
  24. JackRWatkins

    JackRWatkins (661) Nov 3, 2014 Georgia
    Trader

    I do sense, at least here in Atlanta, that they are not as popular as an import as they once were, which bums me out, because I love them as much as I ever have, and now, just about the only legit Belgian Saison you can get here (at a store) is Saison DuPont, which I love, but I'm an American Pig Dog, a Capitalist Pig, if you will, and I crave variety, so it kind of sucks. I also lament the absence of Modern French Biere De Garde, but that's always been a crapshoot.
     
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  25. JackRWatkins

    JackRWatkins (661) Nov 3, 2014 Georgia
    Trader

    This is so true, it's what keeps me buying 750s of St. Bernardus Abt. 12, and keeps me from buying 4 packs, it's hard to justify, even as good as it is.
     
  26. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 (1,694) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    Allagash for one.
     
  27. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 (0) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
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    Drink what you like.

    I do believe that the Belgians did nail the style though.
     
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  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I do. I drink Trappist brewed ales, I also drink US craft brewed Belgian ales and as I already discussed I drink my homebrewed Belgian ales.

    It's all good! :slight_smile:

    Cheers!
     
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  29. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 (0) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
    Trader

    Agreed, just saying that the point of the whole thread was Belgian beer declining and I think part of that is breweries who provide a sub par offering, therefore my argument to stick the the OGs.
     
  30. HopfenUndMalzGottErhalts

    HopfenUndMalzGottErhalts (419) Dec 25, 2015 Arizona

    When I restarted homebrewing after a 15 year break Belgian beers finally made sense to my taste buds. Previously I was never interested. I like them a lot now. TotalWine usually has a decent selection here in AZ. I'll attempt a homebrewed version of one later this summer. More research is needed...
     
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  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I started the thread and I purposefully included "(style)" in the title of "Are Belgian (style) beers no longer popular" for a reason. Also in the OP I specifically discussed how the best selling beer at Ommegang is now an IPA vs. the Belgian styles they are associated with.

    So, not just about beers brewed in the country Belgium.

    Cheers!
     
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  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    One tip: carefully select the yeast strain to produce the beer you desire. Some folks would opine that brewing Belgian ales is all about the yeast and to an extent that is a fair characterization.

    Also how you use the yeast (e.g., fermentation temperature, pitch rate, etc.) is critical as well.

    Good luck with your homebrewed Belgian ale.

    Cheers!
     
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  33. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 (0) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
    Trader

    We should still talk about height quality Belgian style vs others who attempt and don’t reach the same quality level.
     
  34. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan (0) Mar 15, 2014 California
    Trader

    For me, Belgian style beers are akin to Gothic style architecture, great to visit and honor as far as tradition but no one is reinventing the style, all of them can only pay homage. A living historical artifact in the beer world, meant to be revered and visited occasionally. Stand in awe of its history and long unwavering tradition and dedication to its distinct style. My first quality beer was Chimay White and thats what set in motion where I am today in the beer world.
     
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  35. msscott1973

    msscott1973 (0) Dec 28, 2013 North Carolina

    My opener today was a pint can of Ommegang Rare Vos. I enjoyed it.
     
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  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    What about Duvel Tripel Hop Citra Belgian IPA?

    [​IMG]
     
  37. Amendm

    Amendm (745) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island
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    This was enjoyed last night in a very good restaurant in Florida. Big full bar plus an extensive wine list but a kinda short beer list. I was surprised they didn't offer Cigar City beers, this tried and true favorite did the job. Cheers.[​IMG]
     
  38. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan (0) Mar 15, 2014 California
    Trader

    I was referring more to the Trappist/Abbey/Monastery brews but compared to the craft/import beers of today this is probably delicious but hardly a huge shift. I don't think that the people who are seeking out Belgian/Belgian-style brews are looking for this kind of beer. So as good as it is, it's a bit niche no?
     
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  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I am a fan of Belgian ales (Trappist/Abbey Ales, Belgian Pale Ales, Saisons, etc.) and I recently purchased a four-pack of Duvel Tripel Hop Citra Belgian IPA. I really enjoyed drinking those beers.
    Well, as I discussed above Duvel Tripel Hop Citra is not a niche for me so...

    Cheers!
     
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  40. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan (0) Mar 15, 2014 California
    Trader

    And as you are entitled to feel however which way you feel about this beer since the beer is not a niche to you, as someone who's been selling beer for well over a decade now, from my experience people are buying way more Westmalle, Chimay, Kwak, Delirium Blonde, Dubbel, Tripel and Quads by and large. The occasional drinker will come in and grab the alternative options that are hoppier, darker, fruited or what have you but they are not the majority by a large margin. My original response was to the title of this thread about Belgian Beers and what i'm guessing is a feeling that they are declining in popularity. In short, they are so wonderfully traditional at large you won't see too many Belgian IPAs or Belgian Milk Stouts, or Belgian Milkshake Sours (though I'm sure they exist somewhere). So to my point, when brewers in the states brew "Belgian-Style" beers, they aren't making IPAs usually.
     
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