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Old 09-12-2008, 12:23 PM   #1
Craig311
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Default Help with Belgian Beer

I'm heading to the Brass City Brewfest tomorrow (Waterbury, CT), which has a special Belgian beer tent for an additional $10. For those of you more familiar with these styles - could you point me toward some "must try" beers and or vendors? I definitely need some kind of gameplan! Here is the list...

Abbey de Leffe - Achel - Achouffe - Bavik - Binchoise - Boon - Cantillion - Caracole - Chimay - de Dolle - de Halve Maan - de Koninck - De Landtsheer (Malheur) - De Prouef (SBS Imports) - de Ranke - de Silly - des Rocs - Drei Fonteinen - Dupont - Duvel Moorgat - Glazen Toren - Grimbergen - Het Anker (Gouden Carolus) - Hoegaarden - Huyghe - l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu - Lefebvre - Liefmans - Lindemans - Lochristi (Green's) - Orval (Trappist) - Oud Beersel - Palm - Picobrouwrij Alvinne - Regenboog - Riva - Rochefort (Trappist) - Rodenbach - Silenrieux - Slaghmuylder - St. Bernard - Stella Artois - Van Honesbrouck - Van Steenberge - Verhaeghe - Westmalle (Trappist)


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Old 09-12-2008, 12:49 PM   #2
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Boon, Cantillion, de Dolle, De Prouef, de Silly, Drei Fonteinen

Of course, those are lotsa sour beers...but that's just my thing


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Old 09-12-2008, 12:53 PM   #3
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I guess it depends on which beers you can get at other times. One of my favorites from the list would be Duvel, which is a gorgeous strong blonde beer. But it's quite widely exported, so if you can get it anytime where you are, you should go for rarer beers. Though if you've never had Duvel, it's well worth a go.

Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort and Westmalle are all trappist beers, and all very good. Rochefort 10 is a big kick-ass beer that I'd happily drink any time. Westmalle do a great tripel, and I like the fruitiness of the yeast that Chimay uses. The Orval uses Brett yeast, so it's very different to the others. It's quite funky, and not to my taste, but I have friends who love it.

Cantillion is very well regarded by Belgian beerophiles, though I think they only do gueuzes and the like, which again is a little too funky for my palate. The same goes for Boon - I've tried their Oude Gueuze and couldn't drink it, but others loved it.

Rodenbach Grand Cru is another highly rated beer. De Dolle do a great 9%stout, though it's quite American in style, so maybe not the one to go for if you want Belgian-ness. Dupont do a fantastic Saison, in normal and organic ("biologique") versions, so try that if you can. All the St Bernardus beers are good, but their 12 in particular is a belter of a beer.

IMHO Hoegaarden and Stella Artois are fairly ordinary, and given how smashed you could get on all the high strength beers, I wouldn't waste good brain cells on them. The only one on the list to really avoid, according to Tim Webb's "Good Beer Guide - Belgium", is Huyghe - he goes on at great length about how their beers suck total ass. He may or may not be right - it's only one man's opinion - but given how many other good beers there are, I figure why take the risk?

All in all, though, that's an amazingly good choice of beers.
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:48 PM   #4
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Wow. Thanks for all the info! That's a huge help.
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:28 PM   #5
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Abbey de Leffe, Westmalle, and Orval (Trappist) would be the order that in descending preference order.
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:30 PM   #6
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For something new, try a GranCru or Saison.
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:49 PM   #7
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duvel chimay..........and of course stella
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Old 09-12-2008, 03:02 PM   #8
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Researched the styles and some reviews and am starting a list. So far these are definitely getting hit up...

1. Rochefort 10 (13% Quad)
2. St Bernardus 12 (10% Quad)
3. Orval Belgian Pale Ale (6.9%)
4. De Dolle Export Stout (9%)
5. Westmalle Tripel (9.5%)
6. Redenbach Grand Cru (Flanders Red 6%)
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig311 View Post
Abbey de Leffe - Achel - Achouffe - Bavik - Binchoise - Boon - Cantillion - Caracole - Chimay - de Dolle - de Halve Maan - de Koninck - De Landtsheer (Malheur) - De Prouef (SBS Imports) - de Ranke - de Silly - des Rocs - Drei Fonteinen - Dupont - Duvel Moorgat - Glazen Toren - Grimbergen - Het Anker (Gouden Carolus) - Hoegaarden - Huyghe - l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu - Lefebvre - Liefmans - Lindemans - Lochristi (Green's) - Orval (Trappist) - Oud Beersel - Palm - Picobrouwrij Alvinne - Regenboog - Riva - Rochefort (Trappist) - Rodenbach - Silenrieux - Slaghmuylder - St. Bernard - Stella Artois - Van Honesbrouck - Van Steenberge - Verhaeghe - Westmalle (Trappist)

Looks like my Christmas list!
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:26 PM   #10
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I have a hard time finding DeKoninck around here, and when I can find it it is outrageously expensive. It's a great example of a Belgian pale ale. The keg I brewed has been hammered by everyone who tries it. Or should I say everyone who tries it ends up hammered.


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