My favourite Belgian beers
Duvel. Duvel is probably the beer I drink the most, as it is the easiest found quality Belgian beer, and very affordable. It was the first strong blond to be brewed and is very easy to drink, so you only realise after your second or third Duvel that at 8.5% every glass has the same amount of alcohol as 2.5 shots of vodka.
Cantillon Gueuze Lambic. This is a beautiful beer made by a Brussels brewery that tastes more like a sour cider than like a hopsy beer. It is definitely a brewery in the traditional style, with open fermentation and old wood, the type Victor Hugo spoke of approvingly when he lived in Brussels ("It smells of dead mice; delightful!").
Floris Passion Fruit. My beer guide of Belgium specifically refuses to include this beer on the grounds that it isn't really a beer, it is an alcoholic wheat drink mixed with passion fruit syrup. That may be so, but it is delicious, probably the only beer that Lydia and I both like. It is just like drinking Passiona and it is so easy to drink litres and litres.
Kasteel Rouge. This is another fruit lambic, but very different from the light syrup lambics like Kriek. Instead the Kasteel Rouge is not overpoweringly sweet, with a rich deep cherry flavour more like a sweet dessert wine or a cherry liquor than a beer.
Hoegaarden. I know, this is a mass produced beer by the largest beer company in the world, but on a warm day I love the slightly citrus wheat flavour of a chilled Hoegaarden.
Ichtegem's Flemish Red Ale. A "made for export" beer that has a rich flavour, slightly sweet and slightly sour without being overpowering on either. Delicious, but even harder to find in Belgium than Kasteel Rouge.
Toria Triple. The perfect blond beer for me, not as rough as a Duvel and with a hint of the Hoegaarden citrus - this beer surpasses both and would be my regular winter and summer beer if only I could find it. So far I've only found it at the Beer Circus, which is reason enough to become a frequent visitor.
Zinne Bir. This Golden Blond is a Brussels microbrew named after the River Senne that runs through Brussels. I'm not sure if it is such great advertising to brew a beer from a river notorious for being toxic - even in 1866 they sang about the River Senne:
See the Senne and die.
Die of pleasure?
No, die of typhus or cholera.
But regardless, it is a nice little brew, very hoppy. I've only ever seen it at Houtsiplou, but since we go there for a burger fairly often that is not a tragedy.