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Belgian Beers Compiled November 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Drinks & Beverages.

No-one beats the Belgians when it comes to mussels, comic-books and beer. 
Take 7 of these little beauties, grab a couple of friends, put some bread and sausage and cheese on the table, then work your way down the line, savouring the various textures and aromas. We did and it worked for us.

Bit of a disreputable one, the epitome of ‘strong’ Belgian beer. In fact it’s no stronger than most of the others but it’s much fizzier, meaning it’ll do the job better if all you want is to get drunk. Our judges were unimpressed by its yellow colour (much lighter than the others), deceptively lager-ish quality and faint citrus flavour. “Nasty,” we concluded. Still, it’s very popular. Alcohol: 8.5%

St. Bernardus
Much better! A smooth, subtle beer (also available in a 12% version), slightly cloudy with a dark-amber colour. The smell is thin “yeasty,” claimed Judge A; “chalky,” added Judge B, but the beer itself is just right, pleasingly nutty with just enough heft to leave you with that satisfying warm feeling. Thumbs-up all round. Alcohol: 8%

Check out that price-tag! Don’t panic, though, it makes sense, because this comes in a huge 750ml bottle (same as a bottle of wine) with an impish-looking gnome on the label. Best served as though it were wine, plonked on the table to accompany a hearty dinner. The beer itself is pure hazelnut, “Nutella in a bottle!” said the judges, amber-coloured, intensely flavoured and very toothsome, perfect with stews or meaty winter dishes. We like. Alcohol: 8%

Rodenbach Grand Cru
“Rodenbach Grand Cru would feature in any connoisseur’s list of the world’s top ten beers,” according to the beer geeks on the internet (you can find anything on the internet). Are they insane? Both sour and a little nauseating, “berries followed by old socks”, according to one of our judges. “Vinegary,” said another, wrinkling his nose. A taste that assaults the top of the palate and lingers without filling out. General consensus: not good. But we’re obviously not connoisseurs…  Alcohol: 6%

Tripel Karmeliet
Yummy! Hard working (at first I thought they were frolicking) nuns on the label of this “three-grain beer” (wheat, oat and barley, if you must know). Fizzy, like Duvel, but not aggressive, an earthy cereal-like taste with smoky, quince-y overtones. We liked it a lot! “Like a caress,” claimed one judge dreamily. Alcohol: 8%

Passion Max
Belgian beer is a house with many rooms, including this glorified soft drink, bursting with passion-fruit flavour (it’s 25% fruit, more than most juices!). Obviously not a ‘serious’ beer but thoroughly pleasant and refreshing. Best enjoyed on summer afternoons, or perhaps as a mild aperitif while cooking dinner. Alcohol: 3%

Chimay Blue
Saving the best for last? You might say that. One of the big names in Belgian beer, famously made by Trappist monks, poured from a squat bottle with impressive lettering, this oozes tradition and authority. It’s also delicious, darkly ale-like with a tinge of sweetness. “Wet earth in the forest after the rain,” pronounced one judge. I think we were all getting a little tipsy by that point…  Alcohol: 9%

Related Links > www.ssbeersandmore.com 

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