Innovation in beer - Belgium

Which is the most innovative beer country? It's not Belgium according to Patrick Gengler who is writing a series about what drives innovation in beer

The Belgians may have stopped reading already since I said something 'bad' about their beer, but I didn’t mean it in a harsh way and I want to make it perfectly clear that I think they have some of the best beer out there. Here’s my beef with Belgian beer. EVERY BREWERY HAS THE SAME DAMN BEER. There are outliers of course (Duvel’s triple hop, Straffe Hendrick’s wild, Cantillion {pretty much everything}). Seriously though, you will find the same beers at most of the breweries there: A blonde beer, a dubbel, a tripel, a strong dark/quadrupily thingy and maybe a fruit lambic. I like all of those beers, I’m not trying to save face, I really do; but dammit man, brew some more styles of beer. I have every respect for the brewing history in Belgium.

Innovation in beer - Belgium

Which is the most innovative beer country? It's not Belgium according to Patrick Gengler who is writing a series about what drives innovation in beer

The Belgians may have stopped reading already since I said something 'bad' about their beer, but I didn’t mean it in a harsh way and I want to make it perfectly clear that I think they have some of the best beer out there. Here’s my beef with Belgian beer. EVERY BREWERY HAS THE SAME DAMN BEER. There are outliers of course (Duvel’s triple hop, Straffe Hendrick’s wild, Cantillion {pretty much everything}). Seriously though, you will find the same beers at most of the breweries there: A blonde beer, a dubbel, a tripel, a strong dark/quadrupily thingy and maybe a fruit lambic. I like all of those beers, I’m not trying to save face, I really do; but dammit man, brew some more styles of beer. I have every respect for the brewing history in Belgium. The history of Trappist breweries and how they came to Belgium is fascinating. But from my perspective, they aren’t doing much to stay up with the times.

The really entertaining thing about this refusal to remain relevant is that most of today’s most amazing brewers are using some fancy kit at a brewery called De Proef in Belgium. It’s like a safe haven for gypsy brewers from (more often than not) Scandinavian countries, and the rest of the world. I am not entirely sure why they use the kit at De Proef but my guess is that it’s much easier to distribute throughout Europe.

De Proef aside, the beer in Belgium is one iteration of the same style after the other and it can get a bit boring. Here’s the best bit though… they don’t have to brew all kinds of crazy stuff. That’s right, they have the world convinced (rightfully so) that they have the best beer culture in the world. They don’t need craft beer at all. My ranting and raving will fall on deaf ears because I think craft beer would fail in Belgium. It would fail in Belgium because there is so much national pride behind the traditional brewing culture.