Belgian Beer Appreciation Thread (2023)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Beersnake1, Jan 1, 2023.

  1. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Welcome to a thread dedicated to Belgian beers! Belgium is home to many famous styles of beer, such as lambic, saison, and big quads, but this isn't limited to Belgium! Lots of North American breweries are producing great Belgian-style beers, such as Lost Abbey, Ommegang, The Bruery, and Unibroue.

    So, grab an Orval, a Duvel, a Cantillon, a St. Bernardus 12, or anything else in the categories below! Post a review, along with a photo. Share a story about a recent (or upcoming) trip to Belgium. New releases from North America or Belgium? Post them here!

    Here are the styles covered in this thread, although a couple of others might be considered. I might start a monthly theme in February, but it’s wide open for January.

    Belgian Blond Ale
    Belgian IPA
    Belgian Pale Ale
    Belgian Strong Dark Ale
    Belgian Strong Pale Ale
    Dubbel
    Flanders Red Ale
    Flanders Oud Bruin
    Lambic
    Quadrupel
    Saison
    Trappist Single
    Tripel
    Witbier
    Belgian Stout (although not officially a category)

    Santé!

    [​IMG]

    And here's my first Belgian beer for the thread, with my favorite glass! Duvel - a Belgian Strong Blond. The nose is full of biscuits, orange, wheat, malts, sourdough bread, and some sweet caramel. The taste follows the nose. Lovely caramel notes, paralleled by slight hoppy notes, bready malts, wheat, lemon peel, Belgian yeast, and a nice grainy note. Dry and medium bodied. Lovely overall.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. augustgarage

    augustgarage (645) May 20, 2007 California
    Society Trader

    Geuze? American Wild Ale?
     
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  3. Patrick_OKC

    Patrick_OKC (75) Apr 26, 2017 Texas
    Society

    Thanks for starting this. Enjoyed a Chimay Blue earlier this evening, and an Orval last night. Stopped in at a local Total Wine this afternoon and picked up Chimay Red and Blue, Piraat, Dupont Saison, Westmalle Tripel, Delirium Nocturnum, Gulden Draak quad, and Gulden Draak Cuvee Prestige Laphroig Barrel aged. Had to get my shopping points in before the year ended. At least, that's what I told myself.

    Happy New Year to all.
     
  4. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Geuze is lambic, so yes. American Wild Ale is definitely a take on the Belgian style, so yes!
     
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  5. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Nice! Orval is a favorite of mine. Can’t wait to hear what you think about that Gulden Draak Laphroaig barrel. I just picked up the apple brandy version and will open that soon!
     
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  6. swid

    swid (560) Jun 5, 2004 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Currently sitting at a bar people-watching the amateur hour that is New Year’s Eve and sharing a bottle of Tilquin Gewurzt. There’s mineral, a little funk, and just enough of the grapes coming through to balance everything out.

    Cheers to 2023!
     
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  7. Spade

    Spade (465) Mar 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Weyerbacher Quad

    [​IMG]

    Been sitting on a bottle and figured New Year's Eve was a good time to enjoy it. A bit syrupy and 11.8% abv; borders on barleywine territory.

    Here's to- I hope- seeing Weyerbacher beers on the shelves in 2023.
     
  8. tobelerone

    tobelerone (1,080) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I’ve had a very recent hankering for some heftier Belgian beers after a long hiatus and grabbed a 2020 Rochefort 10 the other day. Just as phenomenal as I remembered and a welcome change of pace from lots of hoppy beer and big American stouts. Looking forward to revisiting all those great quads and dubbels during the coming winter months and trying any of the beers of fame I may have overlooked in the past.
     
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  9. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on some of the classics. I plan to do the same!
     
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  10. tobelerone

    tobelerone (1,080) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Totally, I look forward to hearing yours. Many years ago I would have said tripels were my favorite style but it’s been forever since I’ve had one. Probably need to revisit those too.

    I had a great trip to Belgium in 2017 which included two trips to Cantillon and a lot of merriment in Brussels and Bruge. Got some stories and pics which I’ll share in this thread. Would love to get back someday if I can.
     
  11. JBogan

    JBogan (510) Jul 15, 2007 California
    Trader

    Great idea for a thread. If somebody told me that I could drink only Belgian beers for the rest of my life I'd be perfectly fine with that.

    I've been lucky enough to visit Belgium a few times, and visit quite a few beery places there. I'll go into more detail on that later, but for now let's just say that it's one of my favorite places to visit, for both beery and non beery reasons.

    Oh, and I commend you for using the correct terminology here ... it is, of course, Belgian beer, not Belgium beer. :slight_smile:
     
  12. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Sounds fantastic! I was also lucky to visit about a dozen times over the past 6 years. I look forward to hearing, and sharing, stories and beers!
     
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    @Beersnake1, thanks for starting this thread!

    I just got back from a New Years Eve party where I brought some homebrewed beers. I have a bunch of homebrewed Belgian Ales I could have brought (e.g., Orval clone, Quad, Saison,...) I choose to only bring some of my homebrewed Dubbels. To my surprise those Dubbels 'sold out' rather quickly.

    Hopefully this thread will be inspirational to other BAs to motivate them to purchase and drink Belgian Ales.

    And maybe to even homebrew them too? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Cheers!
     
  14. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Love it! I was just looking up a recipe to brew a Stille Nacht clone. Everything related to Belgian beer is welcome here!
     
  15. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi (1,775) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Happy to see this thread, I will definitely make it a point to contribute. I still love dark Belgian beers in particular.

    It seems like Belgian beer has really faded from the focus of American "craft beer" drinkers over the last 20 years. Back in the early 00's, most of the good "beer bars" that I knew of were focused on highlighting Belgian beers. My friends and I would drive into Philly to visit Monk's Cafe and Eulogy Tavern. But then as the years rolled on, more local breweries opened up and more bars and restaurants that had better tap lists moved from English, German, and Belgian imports to local and national American craft beer. Top ranked beer lists moved from Strong Dark Belgian Ales like Chimay Blue, Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus Abt 12, and Westy12 to be dominated by IPAs and Imperial Stouts.

    My wife and I and some friends visited Belgium in 2018 - we had a great time drinking and eating our way through Brussels, Brugge, and Ghent.
     
  16. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    I look forward to your contributions! Let's bring Belgian beers back to the spotlight! I love Brussels, Brugge, and Ghent. We visited all three this past summer and can't wait to get back there. Brugge, including De Garre, is definitely on the top of the list. Although not much beats that main square in Brussels.
     
  17. ramseye4

    ramseye4 (245) May 14, 2010 Virginia

    Not in terms of individual beers but styles as a whole, nothing beats a quad. The level of flavor depth is insane, and they aren’t overly saturated in the market (cough cough IPAs. Just joshin I do love me some IPAs).
     
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  18. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi (1,775) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I will start my contribution with a Belgian-style beer brewed by one of my favorite local breweries, Free Will Brewing (Perkasie, PA). Their 8.5% abv Belgian-style Golden Ale called Grief Motif. It's definitely a Duvel inspired beer, hits all the right style notes. Bright clear golden color, good head retention and lacing, aroma of pale bready malt and classic spicy Belgian yeast phenols. Taste is similar, with dry finish to balance the malt sweetness in the middle of the swallow. Thin to medium bodied, lively carbonation.
    [​IMG]
    Side note - I love the badass label art on this can in the medieval wood cut style. Like most of Free Will's current beer lineup, the art was done by an English tattoo artist Kolahari.
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Brutaltruth

    Brutaltruth (570) Mar 22, 2014 Ohio
    Society

    If I had my druthers I would purchase a case of Urthel Samaranth.
    It has not been in the Cincy area now for about 4 years. Also miss
    Bornem Dubbel when it had the nice yeast layer on the bottom.


    Prosit!
     
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  20. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi (1,775) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Now a bottle of 2019 Gulden Draak from the cellar.

    Pours a clear dark reddish brown in color, thick khaki colored head of tiny bubbles. Excellent head retention, stays to the bottom of the glass. Pleasant aroma of toasted bread, caramel, light brown sugar, a little spice. Similar flavors in the taste, slightly sweet but short finish. Mouthfeel is very nice - medium bodied but smooth and creamy.
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Very nice!
     
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  22. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 (955) Feb 24, 2008 New York
    Society Trader

    Agreed. THAT is an outstanding beer!
     
  23. augustgarage

    augustgarage (645) May 20, 2007 California
    Society Trader

    Also - a rad tulip (and a superior light-box setup/photography as usual).
     
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  24. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    I have a feeling we will be seeing some awesome glassware in this thread!
     
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  25. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    One of my favorite styles in a Belgian Tripel. De Garre is at the top of my list, and I've been lucky to have that one on tap in both Brugge and in California. Hadn't tried this Gouden Carolus Tripel until today. I just haven't seen it around until a few weeks ago where I found it at a Total Wine. Brewed by Brouwerij Het Anker, and comes in at 9% ABV.

    The nose is fantastic. Banana, orange, biscuits, a touch of honey, a slight nutty note, damp grass.

    The taste is wonderful. Sweet caramel, wheat, grass, oranges, vanilla, sugar cookies, a very slight hint of citrus peel bitterness, a slightly earthy funky note, and a touch of oak. Just a great beer with vibrant flavors! Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite dry. Lovely beer.

    Santé!

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Right here is one of the reasons for this thread! I have definitely had beer from Free Will, but I haven't heard about this one yet. I love that breweries are coming out with Duvel-inspired beer. More should be doing this!
     
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  27. AZgman

    AZgman (225) Dec 22, 2011 Arizona
    Society Trader

    A very good Belgian strong blonde ale can be had at Pueblo Vida in Tucson. It is named Garcia Golden and comes in at 10% ABV.

    When I was living in Gent, Karmeliet Triple was one of my favorites.
     
  28. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Nice! I will be heading to Arizona at some point and will look for that one. Karmeliet Triple is one of my favorites.
     
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  29. FBarber

    FBarber (1,555) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Its packed since the move, but somewhere I have this one:
    [​IMG]
    Its a dragon egg glass
     
  30. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 (1,280) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Oh dang, that's a beauty!
     
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    It is commonly thought among BA folks that Belgian beers are not brewed too often by US craft breweries but the number one selling beer by Victory Brewing is a Tripel: Golden Monkey.

    When Victory first opened in 1996 the two co-owners thought their German style beers would be their big sellers (both Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski had German beer experiences) but their number one beer 'back in the day' was their IPA Hop Devil. I think it was until 2006 that Golden Monkey was first brewed; I do not know exactly when this beer became a top seller.

    Golden Monkey is a tasty beer and I will purchase a six-pack from time to time. A real plus is its economical price compared to Trappist brewed Tripels.

    Cheers!

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. Spade

    Spade (465) Mar 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    It was added to the BA database in 2001, and I'm fairly certain that I had it before then. Can't prove it at the moment but may have an old bottle stashed away.

    Completely agree that it's a great beer for the price. Possibly the first Belgian-style I had way back when.
     
  33. AZgman

    AZgman (225) Dec 22, 2011 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Viva Gent! The Gulden Draak is located an the top of the city clock tower
     
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Here is a photo of the Gulden Draak on the top of the belfry:

    [​IMG]

    And I always thought the belfry was 'reserved' for bats. :wink:

    Cheers!
     
  35. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 (955) Feb 24, 2008 New York
    Society Trader

    and people like us!
     
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    [​IMG]
     
  37. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 (955) Feb 24, 2008 New York
    Society Trader

    Proof of my point !!! :smiley:
    Ahh, how will I ever get back into the swing of things at work tomorrow?
     
  38. JBogan

    JBogan (510) Jul 15, 2007 California
    Trader

    And the price is a huge reason it's as popular as it is. Sure, it's a pretty decent beer and I purchase some on occasion as well, but let's be honest, there are a whole lot of Belgian tripels that are better. If the Belgian tripels such as Tripel Karmeliet, St Bernardus, Westmalle, Rochefort etc were available at the same price as Golden Monkey then I'm pretty sure Monkey's sales wouldn't be anywhere near what they are.

    That said, I'm happy Golden Monkey and its variants are readily available for the very reasonable price that they are asking, and as mentioned because of that I do purchase some now and then.
     
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  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Well, right off the bat I have no idea. :wink:

    Cheers!
     
  40. augustgarage

    augustgarage (645) May 20, 2007 California
    Society Trader

    [​IMG]

    My 21st expression from one of my favorite brewers in Belgium - another delightful head-scratcher.

    3.93/5 rDev +8%
    look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

    Found an old Shelton imported bottle at my local and couldn't stop myself. Lot 19, best before end 2015, so keep that in mind! Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into my Rodenbach flute.

    Initially clear tangelo body with a champagne fist up top. Delicate soapy lacing; very good retention.

    Lovely mature yeast aroma, fruity, floral, with gentle phenols/esters.

    Faintly sweet palate entry with hints of chicory and burdock. Hard to identify savory/herbal elements are subsumed by a dusty grain note leading into a faintly peppery bone dry finish. Piquant around the edges with hints of walnut/elderberry. Interesting residual funk, like a distant memory of Brett, a long fallow farm, forgotten books.

    A bit thin, almost sharp, but well carbonated, the ABV quite concealed.

    Impossible to rate to style as the brewer's intent seems purely to confound. Surprisingly mild and free of oxidation.