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Belgian 411

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Can I get the beer guys and gals to weigh-in on their "Top 10" list of Belgian beers?

Please give a range from exotics to respectably priced. Also, feel free to include any US micros (any style) that just have to be on the list because they are so yummy :cheers:

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1. Fantôme Saison <personal favorite beer>

2. Fantôme Saison D’Erezée <god bless the shelton brothers>

3. Rochefort <pick a #>

4. Orval

5. Triple Karmeliet

6. Chimay Blue

7. Westvleteren <good luck finding it>

8. Grottenbier

9. St. Bernardus

10. DeuS <expensive but worth it>

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For American version the Hennepin from Ommegang is wonderful, as are all their beers.

Also the La Folie from New Belgium is wonderful.

Allagash from Maine makes some good beers too.

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Ahh, Saxon you lika the little Ghost! Green1, good question. A range of styles would be great. Please, don't be shy on the US part either (Three Floyds Dark Lord?) :devil: . I'm going shopping outside of my state this weekend and want to pick up some Belgians as well as others :drunk:

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Can I get the beer guys and gals to weigh-in on their "Top 10" list of Belgian beers?

Please give a range from exotics to respectably priced. Also, feel free to include any US micros (any style) that just have to be on the list because they are so yummy :cheers:

OOoo, beer. I love talking about beer.

 

My current personal favorite Belgian, and Belgian-style ales, in no particular order (I know it's supposed to be "Top 10", but this one goes to 11).

 

The Belgians:

 

Chimay Grand Reserve. The most well know of the Belgians, and a great one to introduce to people who aren't used to drinking real beer.

 

Gran Cru of the Emperor - Gouden Carolus. One of the best beers in the world, if you like sweet, malty Belgian ales. Very malty. It is, to me, the epitome of a winter ale. Strong and sweet, with a port-like flavour and finish. Very fruity and complex, with profound raisin and spice notes. No noticeable hops.

 

Fantome Pissenlit. This is a Dandelion Ale — actually brewed with dandelions. It's similar to a bitter or IPA, but with a very green undertone and aftertaste. The dandelion isn't overpowering, but very subtle — like smelling a dandelion flower or fresh-cut greens while drinking; and the bitterness seems to be a combination of a moderate hoppiness combined with dandelion bitter.

 

Duinen Trippel. A pretty typical Belgian trippel, malty and fruity with a low hop profile.

 

Caracole Troublette. Probably the best Belgian witbier (a flavoured white ale) I've ever found. Spicy and crisp, well balanced with a strong citrus nose and light coriander taste. Not quite as "soapy" feeling as many other white beers; and better, IMO, than Hoegaarden Wit (which I also like a lot).

 

Mead the Gueuze - Hanssens Artisanal brewery in Belgium. A blend of malt (70%) and mead (30%). A strong, wildflower nose; the flavour is dry and crisp, with a strongly citrus note, reminiscent of blood-orange. Champaigne-like without being too acidic. The finish is honey and dry, and just a touch of bitterness.

 

The American Microbrew Belgian-style ales:

 

Raison D'Etre - From Delaware's Dogfish Head brewery. A Belgian-style ale, the name is a pun on the fact that it's brewed with raisins in the malt. A sweet, winter ale with noticeable raisin notes and a moderately strong maltiness. Low-medium hop profile keeps it from being overly sweet.

 

Pere Jacques - Goose Island Brewery in Chicago Illinois. This one is almost all one would expect from an abbey style Belgian ale, very similar to a Trappist ale. Sweet and malty, fruity, with a low hop profile and slightly smokey aftertaste.

 

Four|Ale - Allaghash Brewery in Portland, Maine. A Belgian-style quadruppel. Not nearly as malty as I expect from a quadruppel, but was lightly fruity and aromatic, with a toasty carmel nose, strong crisp hop profile, and smooth finish.

 

Punk'n - Santa Barbara Brewing, CA. A Belgian-style white ale brewed with pumpkin. It's a darker, more robust spiciness, strongly fruity and thick, with the soapy finish one would expect from a white ale.

 

Fat Tire - New Belgium Brewery, Colorado. A Belgian-style amber ale; malty, toasty, and fruity with a bit more hops than usual for Belgians. Not the absolute best of it's type, but still very good and much easier to find than most.

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1. Fantôme Saison <personal favorite beer>

2. Fantôme Saison D’Erezée <god bless the shelton brothers>

Have you tried their Pissenlit?

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Start with Rodenbach, a classic flemish sour beer that is relatively easy to obtain. The La Folie that Grey Boy mentioned is a similar style and is actually better but is not available everywhere. Cantillion is usually considered the gueuze standard. Availability is good but it can be quite expensive. Panil is a Belgian-style sour beer from Italy that is quite good. The Liefmans Kriek (cherry) is a nice example of a lambic (fruit flavored) beer.

 

Rochefort is among the best of the "true" Trappist ales, i.e., brewed in an abbey. If you ever get the chance to try Westvleteren, take it. The Westvleteren 12 is probably the best beer I've ever had. There are also any number of Trappist-style ales from all over the world - some of them quite good.

 

Give the Fantôme Saison a try. A nice country-style ale.

 

Also make sure to check out if anyone in your area brews Belgian syle ales.

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Wow. Great list. Only thing they are missing are the Baltic/Eastern European beers that are gaining in availability nowadays.

 

There are some rare finds on the list. Besides what is listed above try these:

Augustijn, Binchoise Blonde, Bink Bruin, Cantillon (any of them if you like fruit beers), De Dolle Oerbier, Delirium Tremens, Leipziger Gose (not Belgian but an interesting/ hard to find beer), St Feuillien Triple, Urthel Triple, Westmalle Dubbel.

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Beyond what has already been mentioned, I'd add the following:

 

The Delerium series (Tremens, Noel, Nocturnum...) from Huyghe brewery are all great.

 

Corsondonk Blond is very good as is their Christmas ale. I'm not fond of the Brown ale, but I'm not big on belgian brown ale either.

 

Doubbel Enghien Blonde ale is a good example of the doubbel style.

 

I've not had a Trappist beer I didn't like.

 

Duvel, Satan, Pirrat, ...

 

Corked bombers have different flavors than capped bottles. Not necessarly better or worse, just different.

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I think my favorite of the trappist ales I've had is Chimay Cinq Cents. Rodenbach Grand Cru is my all time favorite, though. Unfortunately, I can't get that, or La Folie, anywhere in my state, or any other state that I've visited recently. It seems to be entirely impossible to get any Flanders Red at all in the southeast.

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Wow. Great list.  Only thing they are missing are the Baltic/Eastern European beers that are gaining in availability nowadays.

I cannot recommend Baltika Porter highly enough. Probably the best porter I have ever found. Better than a lot of commonly available stouts as well. And it's less expensive than most similar microbrews. Unfortunately, I heard that it is no longer going to be imported into the US. I hope that is wrong.

There are some rare finds on the list.  Besides what is listed above try these:

Augustijn, Binchoise Blonde, Bink Bruin, Cantillon (any of them if you like fruit beers), De Dolle Oerbier, Delirium Tremens, Leipziger Gose (not Belgian but an interesting/ hard to find beer), St Feuillien Triple, Urthel Triple, Westmalle Dubbel.

De Dolle Oerbier is a wonderful beer, as is the Urthel trippel.

 

Have you tried the Bink Bloessem? Very flowery.

 

I'm blessed to live in a city that has not one, but three different places that carry and insane number of different beers from all over the world*; and many of the supermarkets also carry a pretty fair selection of lesser-known imports and micros (the QFC just a few blocks from my apartment carries the Baltika). Literally hundreds of different beers from well over a hundred breweries. As well as meads and Eastern European wines (I have a Russian/Jewish friend who swears by the Georgian wines). I have seen all of these, (with the exception of a couple I don't recognize) at at least one of the three shops.

 

*for those in Seattle, the shops are Bottleworks on 45th in Wallingford, Big Star Beer Market on 105th, about a half-block east of Aurora Ave. N, and Whole Foods on 64th and Roosevelt/12th Ave, north of the U-district. note: Big Star only accepts cash, and their prices are a little higher than the other two; but they carry stuff that the other two don't.

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Great reviews Luchog! Thanks Saxon for the link.

I wish you guys could go shopping with me :(

 

HERE is the list I will be choosing from.

 

Oo, they have Samiclaus.

 

If you can afford it, and if you like sweeter beers, I cannot recommend the Samiclaus highly enough. A simply amazing beer. It's technically a lager, a quadruppelbock, but it tastes more like an ale. Very sweet and fruity and malty, with a strong resemblance to a good port wine. I would compare it favourably with the best of the Belgians. It's also one of the strongest beers, about 17.5% abv.

 

It's also one of the few beers that ages well. Like wine, it actually improves with age. I would recommend getting a few of the more recent (and cheaper) releases, then cellaring them for at least 2 years, preferably 4-5. Same with the Gouden Carolus Grand Cru.

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Unfortunatly for me, the Greens In Greenville SC is the only one I'll get to any time soon. What is unfortunat is that SC still has an antiquated 6% beer limit unlike GA.

 

I've heard the SNCA is good. The RedHook Seasonal (WinterHook) is a dissapointment this year. Kind of thin tasting.

 

 

Edited to correct for RedHook being bad this year.

Edited by Le Gimp

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Yeah, but you can buy beer and wine in the store on Sunday in South Cacalacky. That's a shame about the Christmas Ale. Oh well, will have to drink more Foghorn then.

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Westvleteren 12 is great. The 8 is a good beer too, but there are in my opinion many better ones that are easier to track down. Half of the fun with Westvleteren is the joy of knowing the secret handshakes to get it.

 

Orval is one of my favourites - the best Trappist, in my opinion. As for wheat beer, forget about Hoegaarden and go for Blanche de Namur.

 

I quite like the dutch Christoffel too.

 

Five years ago, Denmark was a poor place to be, beer-wise. Now there are microbreweries popping up everywhere, and they make some damn good stuff, which of course is impossible to find anywhere but here.

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