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All About Belgian Ale

Belgium is known for waffles, chocolate and beer. Why are we not all living there again? Anyway, as you can imagine, the country has a long and rich brewing history. Which leads to a wide variety of Belgian Ale styles for you to taste. Here are a few: Belgian Blonde Ale, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Abbey Ale…you get the idea. While they can vary wildly in color, strength and flavor, Belgian Ales are typically easy-drinking (think less hoppy) with varying levels of fruit notes. With such an enormous assortment to choose from, they're perfect for beer newbies and veterans alike.

Belgians don't have a specific system for crafting ales. Instead, they prefer to make it up as they go along, trying any available ingredients to build a delicious concoction. Clearly, Belgium's a wonderful place for ale lovers to visit.

Belgians have made beers going all the way back to the time of the 12th-century Crusades. That's a millennium's worth of experience. You're probably feeling pretty insecure about your home brewery experiments right now. They care so much about flavors that Belgians swear the type of glass will impact the taste. Part of their uniqueness is a mead stein called a bolleke. It's basically a wine glass full of foamy beer.

Types of Belgian Style Ale:

If you can't actually visit Belgium, allow us to offer up a pretty good consolation prize: Belgian Style Ale. Belgians are experts on the topic, since they consume an average of 84 liters of beer annually. They figure that if they like something, a person with a healthier liver will really dig it.

Belgian Blondes:

No, this isn't an uncomfortably specific Bumble search. Belgian Blonde Ales are a product of post-war celebration. Soon after World War II, the nation celebrated the triumph of the Allied forces by doing what they do best: Inventing a super-strong ale that's light on grain and heavy on bitterness. Why they chose to name it blonde is up for debate, but everyone's got an ex who makes them drink, right?

Abbey Ales:

Even the monks in Belgium know more about ales than you do. Abbey Ales are made by elderly virgins at Benedictine chapels. That's what you call a built-in marketing strategy. They refocus all of their...um...unused energy on beer, and the results are astounding. The Union of Belgian Brewers certifies Abbey Beers and Ales now to prove their authenticity. Eighteen of these microbreweries exist, and they're all worth trying on a night when Netflix and chill didn't happen.

Amber Ales:

Amber Ales sound like lyrics from America the Beautiful, but they're as Belgian as waffles and King Philippe. You'll want to bend the knee and swear fealty to the Belgian monarch after sampling these strong ales. And froth lovers will adore the giant foam head on an Amber Ale. It's worth noting that these brews come from Antwerp, which lets you tell friends that you had Amber Ale from Antwerp. They'll think you hit it off with a Belgian blonde.

Ideal Serving Temperature:
Cool (40-50 degrees)

Suggested Glassware:
Tulip1 1/2 ounces lime juice