Craft Beer in Belgium
Belgium is a country with one of the strongest beer tradition in the world dating back to the 12th century, when local French and Flemish abbeys brewed as a way to raise funds. But it was not until 18th century that trappist tradition arrived in Belgium, as trappist monks had to abandon France due to the French revolution. It's worth noting that trappist is not a style of beer, but a origin and just 12 monasteries in the world can sell trappist beer, 6 of them in Belgium: Rochefort, Orval, Westmalle, Westvleteren, Chimay and Achel. St. Bernardus beer is also based in the Westvleteren recipe, but their license with them expired in the 90's, and they can't longer sell under the trappist name. Both the trappist and non-trappist traditions have given birth to styles as Abbey Dubbel, Abbey Tripel, both pioneered by Westmalle, Quadrupel, Belgian Ale or Belgian Strong Ale.
Another strong brewing tradition in Belgium comes from the Lambic area. This style of brewing is characteristic from the area around Brussels—Pajottenland, in the Senne Valley—and is endemic of that region, as it depends on the wild yeast present on the valley. The beers are spontaneously fermented, and then mixed between old and new blends—the Gueuze Lambic style—or with fruits—like the Fruity Lambics. Famous lambic producers include Boon, Cantillon, Lindemans or 3 Fonteinen.
Brewers from Belgium
Chimay is a trappist brewery founded in 1862 in Baileux (Belgium). They produce three different ales and a patersbier—a beer for their monks. It was the first brewery to use the Trappist seal in their labels. They use their own water from a well within the monastery walls, and the remains from the brewing process are used to feed their own livestock—that produces the famous Chimay blue cheese.
Go to Chimay