Some of my absolute favourite beers are made in Belgium. From Lambics to Dubbels, and everywhere in between, Belgian beers are truly spectacular brews. Recently The Ladies Craft Beer Society of Ireland took at trip to Belgium and I went to Brussels and Bruges.
Needless to say, I was in beer heaven.
All the places we visited were awesome, but I’ll briefly share a few highlights. One of my first stops in Bruges was De Garre. Located down a tiny alley – you will feel like you are absolutely lost and you most certainly will not stumble upon it.
We came for their extensive beer collection, but mostly for their famous house beer, an 11% masterpiece of a Belgian Tripel served with a small plate of delicious cheese. Amazing.
From here we ventured onto some truly exceptional pubs like ‘t Brugs Beertje for some Westvleteren 12, a Belgian Quadruple Trappist beer that consistently ranks in the best in the world. Also amazing.
In Brussels, we of course visited Delirium Café with its thousands of beers on offer.
We also ventured to Brussels Beer Project, which was a nice change with their selection of IPAs and modern twists on traditional styles.
And the great thing about many of these beers is that they are readily available here in Ireland! So in this month of Valentines, Galentines and Singles Awareness Day, instead of just indulging in Belgian chocolate, why don’t you try some Belgian beer too?
You could go for Belgian beers and chocolate pairing evening! Here are a few of my favourite Belgian beer options available in Ireland:
Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait
€8.50 – Available at Drinkstore.ie
This cherry lambic is one of my favourites on the market. Unsweetened, unfiltered and unpasteurized, notes of sour cherry and red wine mingle with oak and barnyard flavours (if you are unfamiliar with this style it may sound strange, but it is actually very desirable and adds a wonderful complexity to the beer). Some sweetness is also present, but overall this is a dry and lightly tart beer.
Rodenbach Vintage 2015
€14.99 – Available at Drinkstore.ie
This 7% Flemish red-brown ale is a gorgeous sour beer. Expect subtle notes of vanilla marrying with sour and sweet cherries, oak, and vinous flavours.
This beer is complex and should be savoured slowly. Rodenbach Vintage is a stunning beer and absolutely worth the higher price tag.
3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze
This complex brew is a Geuze, or Gueuze, a blend of one, two and three-year-old lambics.
This spontaneously fermented tart brew is one of my favourites of this style with funky flavours and notes of leather, citrus, and oak, among others.
You may be familiar with its quite famous sibling, Delirium Tremens, but this beer is also an excellent one to try.
Delirium Nocturnum is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale; quite complex with lots of dark fruits like raisin and fig, malty flavours, spices and hints of caramel and brown sugar.
A bottle conditioned Belgian Strong Ale. Expect banana, dark fruits like raisins, spices, sweet notes and malt flavours from this Trappist brew.
Clocking in at 9% ABV this beer hides its alcohol well within its complex flavour profile. This is one I return to with some frequency.
A historian by trade, Christina founded the Ladies Craft Beer Society of Ireland to have some semblance of a life outside of her Ph.D. An academic at heart, she then went on to turn her love of craft beer into something a bit more formal and has become a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) Beer Judge.
With this background, she is devoted to educating the consumer on the history of beer styles and brewing, as well as what makes up the perfect pint.