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The Best Belgian Beers To Drink This Summer, According To Brewers


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For fans of beer, there are few better destinations than Belgium — home to some of the most historical breweries in the world. In fact, the tiny nation is home to over 200 breweries cranking out all the classics, including lagers, Flemish red ales, sour brown ales, Trappist-style ales, abbey ales, lambics and pretty much every beer style a beer aficionado could ever thirst for. This is destination beer drinking at its finest.

If you can’t just jump on a plane and fly to Belgium to sample all of these exceptional brews, you still have options. Many of the best bottles are available right here in the States and we’ve got the recommendations for you. We asked some of our favorite brewers to tell us their favorite Belgian and Belgian-style beers to drink during the summer months (and the rest of the year for that matter).

Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke Guldenberg

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Mark Safarik, brewmaster at Dogfish Head

The one that most recently blew my mind was Guldenberg from Brouwerij Brasserie De Ranke. It’s a fantastic yet decidedly non-traditional Belgian Trippel, dry hopped with Hallertau Mittelfruh.

Saison Dupont

Shawn Steele, director of brewing operations at Coronado Brewing Company

Saison Dupont—it’s the standard for the style and one of the first Belgians I had that really made me stop and appreciate what an impact yeast can have on a beer.

Westvleteren 12

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Kletse aje da nie mag #westvleteren12 #sintsixtusabdij

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Rhett Dougherty, head brewer at Veza Sur Brewing Co.

Westvleteren 12. This could totally be due to the hype and exclusivity of this beer, but the one time I was lucky enough to enjoy one it was incredible. This Quad showcases dried fruit, malt sweetness, and tremendous balance.

3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze

Joe Peach, head brewer at Kairoa Brewing Company

3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze. Expect lemon citrus, along with pineapple, and a little funk dominate the aroma. A champagne-like effervescence sets the foundation for a celebratory explosion of peach and apricot that balances perfectly with a hint of oak.

Duvel

Yiga Miyashiro, director of brewery operations at Saint Archer Brewing Company

Duvel. It’s dangerous how good it is. 8.5 percent ABV, golden crisp clarity, champagne like carbonation, a head that is three fingers tall and never wants to give up, oh and it drinks like a beer half its strength. It’s called “The Devil” for a reason.

Orval

Doug Pominville Jr., head brewer at Thorn Brewing Co.

Orval. If you have to ask, then do yourself a favor and go buy a bottle immediately. It’s hoppy and delicious when it’s fresh, but ages beautifully for years to come. Developing a lovely brett aroma and flavor.

Rochefort Brewery 10

Phil Leinhart, brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang

I love the beers from Rochefort Brewery in Belgium. Particularly when their beers are a bit more on the fresh side, they have a very appetizing red berry fruit character.

Avery White Rascal

Brad Manske, beverage director at ViewHouse VH Beer

What’s my favorite Belgian (or Belgian-style) beer? Avery’s White Rascal is a Belgium wheat, very flavorful, not too bitter and oh so sessionable.

Straffe Hendrik Tripel

Carl Heinz, brewmaster at Breckenridge Brewery

Straffe Hendrik Tripel is a delicious and excellent representation of the style that I’ve enjoyed on numerous occasions touring in Belgium.

De Dolle Brouwers Oerbier Special Reserva

Brian Morris, innovation brewer at Deep Ellum Brewing Company

One of the most influential moments of my brewing career was sharing a bottle of Oerbier Special Reserva from De Dolle Brouwers with the owner, Kris, at the brewery in Esen, Belgium. With only one small batch of this beer released every year, you should never pass on an opportunity to try this one.

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Adam Curfew, chief operating officer at Wasatch Brewery

What’s my favorite Belgian (or Belgian-style) beer? It has to be Rodenbach Grand Cru. It’s one of the best beers on earth. Tart, rich, perfect beer.

Cantillon Gueuze

Eric Hernandez, brewmaster at Concrete Beach Brewery

This is a fairly popular beer of brewers and beer enthusiasts, but the tried and true classic is Cantillon Gueuze. It is a true classic Lambic and the epitomizes the style. All other similar brews are measured against it, and I have yet to try one that has surpassed it.

Ommegang Hennepin

Scott Ungermann, brewmaster at Anchor Brewing

Ommegang makes some excellent examples of Belgian style ales (also in Upstate New York). I love the Hennepin as a classic farmhouse style saison.

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