About Ciders from Belgium

About Ciders from Belgium
Belgium: Home of Abbey Ales, Lambic, Wit and Diverse, Distinctive Ales Belgium is a small, beer-producing country where beer, culture and religion coexist in unique harmony. People have been brewing a variety of styles in this region since as early as the 1st century BC, and continue to offer a wide assortment of exotic ales to today’s connoisseur. Belgian brewers capture a wide range of flavors by straying from the German tradition of strict adherence to yeast, malted barley, water and hops and experimenting with barley sugar, fruits and spices in their beer-making process. The results are strikingly varied beer styles that mirror the diversity of the people and culture of the country. Unique to Belgium is its long-standing tradition of producing beer in self-sufficient monasteries—a process rooted in the Middle Ages—with seven monastic breweries still operating in Belgium and Holland today. These Trappist breweries are part of the Benedictine order of Catholic monks and produce about 25 labels, all marked with the special designation of “Trappist” ales. It is from this tradition that the separate categories of “abbey” ales were developed, typically brewed in commercial secular breweries. Other popular Belgian beer styles include lambic and wit beers. Distinctive in the world of brewing, modern lambic beers are almost wine-like and have tart, acidic flavors. Some are flavored with fruit juices. This style has become synonymous with producers like Bellevue, Cantillon and Lindeman’s. Alternatively, wit or white beers are cloudy wheat ales, traditionally lighter and easier on the palate and spiced with coriander and orange peel. A classic example of this style is Hoegaarden (the model for Blue Moon), which resurfaced in the U.S. and is increasingly popular with consumers. Although fewer than 200 breweries are currently active in Belgium—compared to approximately 3,000 at the beginning of the 20th century—those that remain continue a rich tradition of brewing diverse, distinctive ales. Of the breweries still in operation, many can trace their foundation back further than 300 years. To the U.S. consumer, Belgian beers represent sophisticated examples of beer styles that the US craft-brewing industry strives to emulate. These distinctive ales invite contemplative, less-hurried drinking, serve as striking examples of Belgium’s rich brewing history, and are superb accompaniments to their cuisine.

Top Picks for Belgium

Ciders

Strongbow Rosé Apple Hard Cider
89 points
Pale pink coral color. Fruity, earthy aromas and flavors of kiwi-strawberry custard tart, apple, and melon with a supple, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a sleek, stimulating, medium-length finish displaying impressions of apple-lemon sorbet finish. A tasty, mouthwatering rose cider that will appeal to cider, rose wine, and sparkling wine drinkers.
Strongbow Artisanal Blend Hard Cider
88 points
Hazy light straw gold color. Spicy aromas of apple sorbet, banana soufflé, kiwi, melon rind, mango and sweet potato with a medium-to-full body and a medium-to-long honeycomb on apples, grassy earth, pickled white strawberry, green apple taffy, and whole pixie sticks finish. A sessionable and sprightly cider; a gentle nod towards the earthier English style.
Strongbow Orange Blossom Hard Cider
88 points
Brilliant light amber orange color. Aromas and flavors of orange peel and orange blossoms with a supple, tangy, effervescent, off-dry light-to-medium body and a polished, appealing, carefree finish evoking nuances of orange and lemon sorbet, apple sauce, and tropical fruit salad finish. A very tasty and attractive orange flavored cider that is sure to please.
Ruwet Brut Cidre
85 points
Pale white gold color. Aromas and flavors of apple flesh, white bean and hominy soup, shoreline, and sea salt with a satiny, bright, spritzy, dryish thin body and a sleek, short finish with notes of pixie sticks finish. A light and approachable pub-crusher for daytime sessioning.