some of the best

Belgian Abbey Beers: A Monastic Indulgence

J.M. Towers

Belgium produces more than 1,000 different kinds of beers including the classic abbey beers, which are made following the original formulas of the medieval monks.

The traditional Belgian abbey beers— once made by monks in their monasteries— are manufactured today outside the monastic environment with stringent controls by the Union of Belgian Brewers, which in turn allows them to carry their logo. These beers are still made following the ancient formulas of the monks whose recipes date back to the Middle Ages and are now property of the breweries.

The main categories of Belgian abbey beers are blonde, ale, double, triple and quadruple, increasing the degree and body as they move up the scale. This process includes double or triple fermentation. Usually the final fermentation occurs in the bottle, and that is why so many of them look cloudy and have sediment at the bottom. The more contents of malted barley, the greater the intensity.

Belgium, a small country that produces more than 1,000 different kinds of beers, has plenty of specialized bars where you can taste them, with the peculiarity that each comes in a different glass of varied and whimsical shapes.

All beer lovers are well acquainted with the remarkable quality of Belgian beers, ideal as an afternoon drink or to accompany aged cheeses, pickles, sausages of all kinds, Argentinean barbecue and fish. Here we present some of the best Belgian abbey beers:

St. Sebastiaan Dark

Belgian Abbey Beers

Type: Double.
Taste: A very pleasant light malt and caramel flavor, slightly bitter.
Color: Dark reddish.
Foam: Light Brown, abundant but not lasting.
Alcoholic contents: 6.9%
Ideal temperature: room temperature.

Petrus Aged Pale

Belgian Abbey Beers

Type: Ale.
Taste: Acid but balanced with a fruity sweetness and notes of licorice
Color: Golden with bronze hints
Foam: Dense, intense and persistent.
Alcoholic contents: 7.5%.
Ideal temperature: room temperature.

Hoegaarden Blanche

Belgian Abbey Beers

Type: Wheat blond.
Taste: Yeast, full bodied, smooth and very refreshing.
Color: Straw gold.
Foam: Abundant in the beginning, but quickly disappears.
Alcoholic contents: 6.9%.
Ideal temperature: room temperature.

Adriaen Brouwer Dark Gold

Belgian Abbey Beers

Type: Blond.
Taste: Roasted malt with fruity nuances and a chocolate and caramel background.
Color: Ocher, redish against the light, cloudy.
Foam: Thick, very spongy and lasting.
Alcoholic contents: 8.5%.
Ideal temperature: 46-53º F.


Belgian Abbey Beers

Type: Ale.
Taste: Hints of coriander, orange and green apples.
Color: Gold.
Foam: Abundant in the beginning, later remains only a thin layer.
Alcoholic contents: 8%.
Ideal temperature: 46-53º F.

Waterloo Triple

Belgian Abbey Beers

Type: Ale.
Taste: Slightly fruity, mild and not bitter
Color: Golden yellow.
Foam: Very abundant, dense and very white
Alcoholic contents: 7.5%.
Ideal temperature: Around 46º F.

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