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Exploring the Beer Diversity Part 2: Belgian Beer Styles

Belgium, a small European country, is renowned for its rich beer culture that dates back centuries. With over 1,500 different beers produced by more than 200 breweries, Belgium offers a diverse range of beer styles that cater to every palate. From Trappist ales to sour lambics, Belgian beers are celebrated worldwide for their complexity, uniqueness, and exceptional quality. In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of Belgian beer styles, exploring their history, characteristics, and what makes them stand out in the global beer landscape.

Belgian Wit Beer

Belgian Witbier, also known as Wit or White beer, is a refreshing and light-bodied style originating from Belgium. It’s known for its hazy appearance, pale color, and distinctive flavor profile, often featuring citrusy and spicy notes. Ideal for warm weather, its blend of citrus, spice, and herbal flavors has made it a favorite among beer enthusiasts exploring traditional Belgian ales.

Trappist Ales

Trappist ales are brewed by Trappist monks within the walls of their monasteries under strict guidelines. There are more than 9 Trappist breweries worldwide, with six located in Belgium: Rochefort, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, and Westvleteren. These breweries produce some of the most sought-after beers in the world, known for their rich flavors, high alcohol content, and exceptional craftsmanship.


Dubbel, meaning “double” in Dutch, is a dark, malty beer with flavors of caramel, toffee, and dark fruits. It typically has an alcohol content ranging from 6% to 8%. Dubbels are known for their complex flavor profiles, which often include notes of raisins, plums, and spices, balanced by a subtle bitterness.


Tripel, meaning “triple” in Dutch, is a strong, pale ale with a high alcohol content, usually between 8% and 10%. Tripels are characterized by their golden color, fruity aromas, and spicy flavors, often with hints of banana, clove, and citrus. Despite their high alcohol content, Tripels are surprisingly smooth and drinkable, with a dry finish.

Belgian Strong Ales

Belgian Strong Ales are a broad category of beers that encompass a variety of styles, including Golden Strong Ale, Dark Strong Ale, and Blonde Ale. These beers are characterized by their high alcohol content, ranging from 7% to 12%, and their bold flavors and aromas.


Saison is a traditional Belgian beer style that originated from the Wallonia region of Belgium. It is a farmhouse ale traditionally brewed in the winter months to be consumed by farm workers (“saisonniers”) during the summer harvest season. Saisons typically have a golden to amber color, often with a cloudy appearance due to the presence of yeast.


Gueuze is a blend of young and old Lambics, resulting in a sparkling, sour beer with complex flavors of citrus, green apple, and barnyard funk. It’s highly carbonated and often compared to Champagne due to its effervescence and dry finish. Gueuze is a versatile beer that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of foods.

Oud Bruin

Oud Bruin, Oud Bruin, also known as Flanders Brown Ale has a long history in Belgium, dating back several centuries. It was traditionally brewed in farmhouse breweries in the Flemish region, where it was aged in oak barrels to develop its characteristic sourness and complexity., It is a sour ale known for its deep brown color, complex flavors, and tart characteristics.

Lambic Beers

Lambic beers are unique to Belgium and are fermented using wild yeasts and bacteria native to the Zenne Valley near Brussels. These spontaneous fermentation methods result in tart, sour, and often funky beers that are unlike any other style in the world.

Fruit Lambics

Fruit Lambics are Lambic beers that have been infused with fruits such as cherries (Kriek), raspberries (Framboise), or peaches (Pêche). These beers are fruity, tart, and refreshing, with the natural sweetness of the fruit balancing the sourness of the Lambic base. Fruit Lambics are perfect for those who prefer sweeter, fruit-forward beers.

Belgian beer styles offer a diverse and exciting range of flavors, aromas, and experiences that cater to beer lovers of all kinds. Whether you’re a fan of Trappist ales, Belgian Strong Ales, or Lambics, there’s a Belgian beer out there waiting to tantalize your taste buds. So, the next time you find yourself reaching for a beer, why not explore the world of Belgian beer and discover what makes these brews truly special? Cheers!