Ultimate 6er | Must-try Beers from Belgium and Beyond
About three weeks ago we touched back down on U.S. soil after a whirlwind trip through Germany and Belgium. Against our better judgement, we managed 7 bottles of Belgian beer (both large and small) through 6 airports. It was a heavy experience, toeing the weight limit line on several occasions, and it was a moment of relief to unpack each intact, fizzy bottle in our kitchen. The trip was a fantastic one that we’re so grateful for. As a craft beer lover, most trips conveniently seem to involve a brewery or two, but the trip to Belgium was the king of all brew-centric journeys.
To those who want to take the trip – it may be closer within reach than you think. A flight to Europe is undoubtedly a financial setback, but traveling, eating and drinking your way around Belgium is fairly cheap, and the country is so small you can digest it all in a week or less, no problem. You will find yourself overwhelmed by amazing beer options at a price that is unfathomable for such rare gems.
If you’re itching to recreate the Belgium vibe in the States, we’ve picked out a few recommendations from our travel log. Most if not all of these beers are distributed in U.S., though some may require a bit of searching around. If you find one, may they satiate your palette until the day that you too visit the mother country!
Westmalle Dubbel – 7% ABV
This Dubbel was one of our favorite beers of the entire trip. The nose was heavy on cherry, plum and juicy grape, and the taste was super deep, transitioning from plum and raisin to a roasty, resinous chicory flavor. It was very carbonated. We picked up a bottle at our local liquor store when we got back and drank it that night; the flavors seemed harsher and more alcohol-hot. We suspect that the Dubbel from Belgium had been aged longer. This could definitely be a great pick for the cellar!
Cantillon Fou’ Foune – 5% ABV
Yes, you can find this one in the U.S.! The Cantillon website lists destinations in Missouri and Massachusetts during certain times of the year. If your search hard enough it appears to pop up in random liquor stores across the country. This apricot lambic is truly spectacular, unbelivably complex.Cantillon is the only brewery in Brussels to continue the ancient tradition of true open fermentation. Their massive coolship takes in the cold breeze of the Senne Valley and gives way to the beautiful beers of Cantillon. Researchers once identified 100 yeasts, 27 acetic acid bacteria and 38 strains of lactic acid bacteria in one single lambic! Fou’ Foune was our favorite, with bright distrinct apricot, intense acidity and a complexity that is almost indescribable.
Tool Yeastus Christus – 7.4% ABV
Tool is a Danish brewery that was founded in 2010 as part of the European craft movement. The founders came from the same group of brewers that the well-known Mikkeller Brewery sprung from. Yeastus Christus is a farmhouse IPA fermented with wild yeast. The wild tartness is complimented by some insanely tropical hop flavors and leaves you with a satisfying pineapple bitterness. Tool beer can be found all over the US, and we suggest you try at least one if you find some! Theirs was some of the best craft beer we tried throughout Europe.
Brasserie Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux – 9.5% ABV
This beer means “With best wishes from the brewery Dupont” This blonde monster is a limited offering from Dupont and contains a complex yeast and hop profile, using multiple strains of yeast and multiple hop additions through its extended aging period. Our bottle seemed to have subtle brett character and balanced hop aroma. It’s a truly unique beer that’s known to age beautifully.
Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles La Rulles Tripel – 8.5% ABV
We knew that we would love the sours of Belgium, but we were surprisingly blown away with by the tripels we tried. This one was a recommendation from a bartender at Delirium cafe and one of our favorites. The nose was complex with notes of oranges and lemon with a spicy ending. The taste was delicious and dangerous, no perception of heat and a perfect balance of spice and esters.
Brouwers Verzet Oud Bruin – 6% ABV
This beer had strong vinegar on the nose with backgrounds of plums and raisins. The taste followed the aromas with a strong backbone of lip smacking acidity. It was one of the more sour old bruins we’ve had, with a perfect balance of vinegar, fruit tones, subtle maltiness and sourness.
Brouwerij Liefmans Goudenband – 8% ABV
This beer has aromas of raisins and tobacco with flavors of grape and plum and a mild tart finish. It’s very complex with no hint of alcohol. As the beer warmed notes of cherry, fig and sherry surfaced. The dynamic transition of flavors was spot-on.