7 Belgian Craft Beers Packed With Flavour


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The Belgian’s unbridled love affair with beer dates back centuries. The best Belgian craft beers are ideal for any occasion, varying from whites, blondes, browns, and even fruity ones.

Belgian beer is more than an ice-cold refreshing brewski after work. Like pairing a fine wine with a delicious meal, Belgians love to pair their beers with food to enhance the enjoyment of both.

After heroically climbing all 366 steps of the Belfry of Bruges (only to find no bar at the top), Ingrid and I took a trip to the Brewery Bourgogne des Flandres to discover Belgian craft beer at its finest.

Best Belgian Beers

With different brewing methods, colour variations, and strengths, the best Belgian craft beers are smooth, refined, and packed with flavour.

1. Bourgogne des Flandres Brune

Bourgogne des Flandres Brune
Credit: Bourgogne des Flandre

Overview

  • Brewery: Bourgogne des Flandres
  • ABV: 5% (10 Proof)
  • Country: Belgium
  • Colour: Dark Brown

Review

Bourgogne des Flandres Brune was first brewed in 1911 by the Van Houtryve Family, but since the 1990s, the beer is now brewed in the loft of Bourgogne des Flandres.

This is a mixed fermented beer combining a mix of lambic beer (spontaneous fermentation) from the Timmermans brewery with young top fermentation beer.

It is further aged for several months in oak barrels, giving the beer a rich and creamy finish with fruity notes, giving a 2-3 finger foam head.

On The Nose

Fruity notes upon opening the bottle, with candied cherry and a touch of cola sweetness with a slightly rich aroma of port wine.

On The Palate

The initial burst of pronounced burnt sugar sweetness is balanced with rich dried fruits. The finish is smooth, with hints of woody oak and sherry-like notes that remind me of a Trappist beer.

Pair With

Bourgogne des Flanders Brune pairs exceptionally well with red meat and would make a great companion to a venison stew or pair with soft cheeses like Roquefort and Camembert.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

2. Maredret Triplus

Maredret Triplus
Credit: Maredret

Overview

  • Brewery: John Martin S.A.
  • ABV: 8% (16 Proof)
  • Country: Belgium
  • Colour: Pale Gold

Review

In 2016 the Sisters of Maredret Abbey needed to raise urgent funds for repairs and restorations of the church. So, for the first time ever, the nuns jumped into crafting beers and joined the range of Trappist and Abbey beers.

They agreed to grant John Martin Brewery a license to brew Maredret Triplus under strict recipe rules using carefully selected ingredients handed down from Saint Hildegard Bingen.

On The Nose

The sweet floral scents are complimented with fresh citrus aromas and hints of smooth wood.

On The Palate

The spelt grain offers a floral note with nutty undertones with slight hints of bitterness. Coriander and sage become evident mid-palate, giving it a unique and pleasant taste with a slightly woody finish.

Pair With

This beer’s low bitterness and light body pairs well with grilled seafood, like lobster or shrimp, and is a beer that would go well with Indian dishes too.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

3. Bourgogne des Flandres Blond

Bourgogne des Flandres Blond
Credit: Bourgogne des Flandres

Overview

  • Distiller: Bourgogne des Flandres
  • ABV: 5.5% (11 Proof)
  • Country: Belgium
  • Colour: Pale Gold

Review

After years of inactivity, the Bourgogne des Flandres reopened its doors and revived the brewery in Burges in 2015 under the partnership of John Martin Breweries.

The union of two auspicious beers, the Bourgogne Blonde OS, a high fermentation blond spicy beer, and a young, spontaneous fermented lambic beer from Timmermans brewery was mixed fermented to create a light blond beer that is delightful to drink.

On The Nose

The nose opens to a hint of lemon oil and zesty orange peel, with mild additions of spices and the aroma of grainy malts and fresh grassy notes of hay and orchard fruits.

On The Palate

Although blended with a lambic beer, the expected sourness is replaced with sweet fruity flavours of orange, and apple, with the back hints of malt.

Peppery notes of pepper and coriander envelope the apple juice and orange peel notes, finishing with a sweet fruity honey aftertaste.

Pair With

Thanks to its sweetness, this blond pairs up nicely with a light lunch of lightly toasted French baguette with slices of tomato and mozzarella spiced with cracked pepper.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

4. Blonden OS

Blonden OS
Credit: Blonden OS

Overview

  • Distiller: Bourgogne des Flandres
  • ABV: 6.5% (13 Proof)
  • Country: Belgium
  • Colour: Yellow Gold

Review

Historically brewed at the Bourgogne des Flandres in Burges, this beer is a golden oldie reminiscent of how simple and natural beers were made back in the day.

This is a top-fermented beer that is opulent in its flavours. It created a 3-finger head and should be sipped slowly for pure enjoyment.

On The Nose

The nose opens to hints of a mild malt base that you would expect in lagers, although it is elegant and not overwhelming. Light, spicy fruit notes of hops on the finish.

On The Palate

The mild malty base is slightly sweet, with soft carbonation that evolves into a typical pleasing bitterness of hops, finishing off on a dry, slightly spicy aftertaste.

Pair With

Best enjoyed as an aperitif or with Flemish-styled asparagus with diced eggs, complementing the acidity of a delicious serving of hollandaise sauce.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

5. Gordon Xmas

Gordon Xmas
Credit: Gordon

Overview

  • Distiller: John Martin
  • ABV: 8.8% (17.6 Proof)
  • Country: Belgium
  • Colour: Ruby Red

Review

As eggnog is a highly anticipated Christmas tradition, so is the Belgian Christmas beer, spicing up the brew for a slightly stronger ABV % to warm things up during the cold winter.

This seasonal dark-rich beer is highly anticipated by Belgians each year as Christmas draws nearer. Ho ho ho!

On The Nose

The opening aromas of woody notes are quickly infused with rich scents of deep fruit scents and fragrances of baked fruit cake with whiffs of molasses.

On The Palate

The taste follows in tune with the scent and opens with sweet fruits and baking spices. Malt and molasses mid-plate and the smooth mouth feel of caramel with a kick of spice to finish.

Pair With

To fully enjoy this beer, allow it to warm up slightly while sitting by the fire and slowly sip the deep rich liquid as it warms you from within and keeps the winter chills at bay.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

6. Gordon Blond Oak Aged

Gordon Blond Oak Aged
Credit: Gordon

Overview

  • Distiller: John Martin
  • ABV: 8% (16 Proof)
  • Country: Belgium
  • Colour: Amber Gold

Review

A top-fermented beer with 3 grains triple of malt, wheat, and oats is aged in oak barrels and enjoys a second fermentation in the bottle, providing it with its fruitier notes.

I would say it compares well to European lager (check out my review of Italian Beers) with a reasonably high ABV percentage that is well-carbonated and produces a 2-finger head.

On The Nose

Aromas of vanilla, ripe orchard fruits, and a subtle hint of coriander and oak.

On The Palate

The rich hoppy flavours of the grains hint at a very slight bitterness, with zesty orange peel shining through. On the finish, slight woodiness from the oak barrels compliments coriander’s lightly floral and grassy notes.

Pair With

This satisfying thirst quencher is perfect for a warm summer’s day whilst demolishing a cheeky burger. With the essence of fruitiness, this blond beer is best served chilled.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

7. Timmermans Strawberry Lambicus

Timmermans Strawberry Lambicus
Credit: Timmermans

Overview

  • Distiller: Timmermans
  • ABV: 4% (8 Proof)
  • Country: Belgium
  • Colour: Deep Red

Review

A light and fruity beer that’s ideal for summertime. Consists of sweet strawberries to the brightly coloured visual of carbonated red-pink hues that glisten in the rays of a summer’s afternoon.

Natural juices are added to a lambic beer and further fermented in oak barrels before bottling and enjoying. Produces a 2-3 finger foam head. Not sure if it counts as one of your 5-a-day!

On The Nose

Aromas of strawberry jam, hard-boiled sweets and faint notes of wheat.

On The Palate

Authentic flavours of strawberries thrill the taste buds; it has a fresh feel of fruity notes that fade to a hint of apricot/peach before returning to the seductive flavours of strawberries.

Pair With

This delightfully light beer is best enjoyed with a platter of grapes, sliced apple fruits, and rich, creamy cheese with crusty bread and melba toast.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

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Andrew’s Top Pick

best Belgian beers

Bourgogne des Flandres Brune

My top pick Belgian beer is Bourgogne des Flandres Brune as it is fruity, rich and well balanced between sweetness and bitterness.

I especially enjoy the hints of brown sugar and the aroma of port wine on the finish. (although I do have flashbacks of climbing the steps of the Belfry of Bruges each time I see the label).

Belgian Beer Q&A

Andrew with 7 Belgian Beers

What Is Belgian Beer?

Belgian beer comes in various colours, brewing methods, and alcohol strengths generally higher in ABV than British and German beers. Each of these depends on which category of Belgian beer it falls under. With four fermentation brewing methods being used in Belgium, it is unique and dates back to ancient times.

What Is The Strongest Belgian Beer?

John Martins has crafted a traditional beer for decades that packs a punch at an ABV of 8.8%. This spicy Xmas beer is a seasonal addition to the Belgian’s beer consumption, warming you up during the cold Christmas seasons as you sit in front of a fire and slowly sip a long-standing tradition.

Conclusion

Andrew using a Belgian beer bottling machine
Andrew using a Belgian beer bottling machine

The best Belgian craft beers are more than a hobby of flight of fancy; they have become a part of traditions, from seasonal craft beers to traditional Xmas beer.

With different methods and styles incorporating fruity flavours, it’s no wonder the Belgians are mad about their beers; plus, you don’t need to climb 366 steps to enjoy them.

Fancy a beer that is clean and crisp? Then check out my review of 8 refreshingly crisp Mexican beers.

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Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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