About Fruit and Specialty Beers from Belgium

About Fruit  and  Specialty Beers 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

Fruit and Specialty Beers

Rodenbach Brewery Rodenbach Alexander
97 points
Dusty mahogany color. Savory, sour aromas of reduced lemon with balsamic, sour cherry kefir, and lettuce greens with pickled veggies and vinaigrette with a satiny, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, compelling, medium-long sourdough cherry toast with lemon-kiwi marmalade, marinated artichokes, nuts, and brandy barrels finish. A complex, delicious and flavor pack sour fruit beer that will rule at the table.
LambickX Private Domain 2015
95 points
Minutely hazy gold color. Lively, smoky, sour aromas and flavors of grilled lemon, dark roasted nuts, scorched prairie, and horse blanket and barn with a tart, effervescent, sourish light-to-medium body and a tingling, medium-long finish with accents of nectarine pit, baked lime, chalk, and chia and hemp seeds finish. A very complex gueuze with cascading waves of flavor.
Brouwerij Timmermans Oude Gueuze
93 points
Hazy old gold color. Sour aromas and flavors of lemon, white balsamic vinaigrette, nectarine, and gauze and horse blanket with a supple, puckering, finely carbonated, sour full body and a tingling, very long finish with overtones of peach pit, lemon and kiwi seed, lemon zest on sourdough toast, and olive brine finish. A wonderfully bracing and appetizing gueuze that invigorates the palate and will be marvelous at the table.
Green’s Brewery Gluten-Free "Endeavor" Dubbel Ale
93 points
Clear bronze color. Sweet, toasty aromas and flavors of caramelized nuts, chocolate muffin, spiced fruits, and sassafras with a supple, fruity medium body and a tingling, crisp finish conveying accents of apple and peach butter on toast, chocolate cherries, nuts, and bark finish. A lively fruity gluten-free homage to a Belgian dubbel.
Dubuisson Peche Mel
93 points
Dusty copper color. Bright, fruity aromas of dried apricot and raisin bread with a silky, racy, bubbly, very sweet medium body and a tingling, delightful, long peach cobbler and praline finish. A bold fruity stone fruit beer with great purity, balance and length.
Green’s Brewery Gluten-Free "Quest" Tripel Ale
92 points
Hazy gold color. Fruity, sourish aromas and flavors of peach-pineapple vinaigrette, spicy fruit cake, vanilla caramel bonbon, and buttercream with a silky, vibrant, sweet-and-sour medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length finish displaying accents of caramel apple and praline finish. A rich, fruity gluten-free beer that captures the spirit of a Belgian tripel.
Bzart Lambiek
90 points
Clear old gold color. Delicate, fruity aromas and flavors of roasted peaches and nuts, sourdough bread, and clay with a supple, tart, fizzy, sweet medium body and a smooth, complex, medium-length finish with notes of overripe lemon and green apple, lemon pepper on greens, and earth finish. A clean, elegantly styled gueuze.
Brouwerij Lindemans Oude Gueuze Cuvée René
90 points
Minutely hazy light gold color. Lively, complex, yeasty aromas and flavors of sourdough bread, dried citrus and stone fruits, mossy earth, and horse mane with a silky, crisp, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, complex, medium-long finish with notes of spinach and mustard greens, white balsamic vinegar on green peaches, hearts of palm, and grass and nettles finish. A complex, bracing tart, very earthy lambic for the table, especially with shellfish.
Duvel Moortgat Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ale
89 points
Brilliant golden amber color. Attractive, fruity aromas and flavors of honeyed fruit cake, apple-banana custard tart, pickled golden beet salad, and white wine with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, medium-to-long finish conveying notes of peach-mango yogurt, honeyed pepper nut bread, cherry tart, and hint of whisky barrel finish. A precise, decadent barrel-aged ale to savor and share.
Green’s Brewery Gluten-Free "Discovery" Amber Ale
89 points
Cloudy bronze color. Fruity aromas and flavors of raisin chutney, spiced fruits, sautéed mushrooms, and cola with a supple, crisp, fruity medium body and a tingling, stimulating, medium-length finish that exhibits impressions of rye toast, honeyed greens, diet cherry bubblegum, and tea finish. A fruity gluten free beer with a Belgian twist.