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Belgium is the fatherland of quality beer-brewing. The country has a huge variety of beer styles, from well-established pale ales, saisons, tripels and dubbels to the more unusual Flemish sours, lambics and gueuzes. It is also, of course, the spiritual home of Trappist beer, claiming six of the eleven breweries in the world where Trappist monks oversee the beer making (and usually cheese too) to support the charitable works of their monastery.
Trappist beers aren’t beer styles per se, but to be described as such they have to be brewed either by monks or within the walls of a Trappist monastery. Today the Belgian beer scene itself is highly regionalised. You shouldn’t impose any such constraints on yourself, of course – with such a rich brewing history, Belgian beers are an essential addition to your fridge.
BELGIAN BEER GLOSSARY:
Abbey – A beer associated with an abbey although rarely brewed by monks. Leffe is the best known example.
Brettanomyces – A genus of yeast often known as Brett. It can cause flavours and aromas such as leather and barn yard. Often found in lambics and Flanders reds.
Gueuze – A style of Belgian beer that blends old and young lambic ale. Highly carbonated and distinctly tart and sour.
Lactobacillus – A bacteria that, when desirable, adds a sourness to beers.
Lambic – A traditionally Belgian brew that is quite sour unless flavoured with fruit. It also uses open fermentation methods that rely on the natural yeasts in the air (rather than adding yeast directly to the brewing process).
Sour Beer – A type of beer that is usually sour to taste and describes Lambic, Gueuze or Flanders red ale. The oldest brand is Rodenbach.
Trappist – A beer brewed within a Trappist monastery. Only 11 breweries (six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, one in Austria, one in Italy and one in the USA) can use the ‘Trappist’ badge.
Wit– Meaning ‘white beer’. A cloudy wheat beer that was originally preserved with spices or fruit. The most common spices are coriander and dried orange peel. Wheat makes it cloudy.
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
While some so-called off-flavours can be appropriate in certain styles others are not and may kill a little bit of your soul. Here's a quick guide to the most common off-flavours.
Father’s Day, 20th June 2021, is the special date in the calendar when we celebrate and give a nod to the Dads in our lives. It’s an excuse to spoil them with a little something to say thank you for being awesome. If you’re looking for inspiration for a craft beer-loving Dad, then check out our top 7 Father’s Day beer gifts.
Another can spins off the line at Stone Brewing’s new brewery in Berlin. The speed of the whole process is astonishing, a matter of seconds from empty can to filled and sealed. Those amazing hop aromas that Stone Brewing’s IPA is known for are locked in, only to escape as you release the swirling lemon, pine, grapefruit aromas in one of the world’s best IPAs. Cans are the perfect container for this beer. And here’s why.
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