Cheers for Belgian Beers

In my former life back in Portland, a few friends and I started a beer club. Our spouses/partners always doubted the legitimacy of said club for beer, thinking that we were using it as an excuse to get drunk once a month. Now, I’ll grant you, the phrase ‘heading out to beer club’ pretty much guarantees a level of drunkenness, but in my defense, we did do more than just drink beer,

We discussed the beer we drank. We evaluated the beer. The more savvy members explained how the different brewing and aging processes created the subtleties of each particular beer. We were highly scientific about the whole process (or at least, I felt more science-y as the night went on).

notes on belgiam beer

Yup, I take notes when I go out to bars

Amongst beer lovers, Belgian beer is talked about with reverence. It’s not just a places where good beer is made – it’s a laces where monks make beer. Yes, that’s right, monks. And they make some of the best beer in the world. They treat beer the same way CHT Melbourne baristas treat coffee, only, you know, in their robes.

So, to say that I was excited to go to Belgium is like saying kids like Christmas – only instead of waking up my parents at 5 in the morning to open my presents from Santa, I felt like I should wake up at 9 am and run down the street in my jammies and yell-ask the bartender, “Is it time to drink yet?!?!?!”

Thankfully for the citizens of Brussels, it’s quite cold this time of year, so they were saved the horrific images of a formerly skinny, hairy, and very pasty man running down the streets in the morning. I’m sure it would have ruined more than a few breakfasts.

I won’t bore you with the specifics of each beer, but here is a picto-highlight from our visit to Brussels:

beer collage

My favorite beer I had while in Belgium was the Corsendonk Christmas Ale. This beer made my mouth explode in happiness on the first sip. It was, hands down, the best beer I have had in a long time.  I’m partial to big, strong beers, and this one didn’t disappoint. Here are some of the notes I made while drinking this fantastic seasonal:

Tasty and mealy – a beer you can almost chew. Big bodied – will fill your belly.

A brown strong ale with a nice mix of maltiness & spiciness (something like a hint of ginger in it)

I had tons of other great beers too: Trappistes Rochefort, Karmeliet Tripel,  and Duvel Tripel, just to name a few. (Trust me, I could go on and on, but there are too many to list and I’m sure you don’t want a laundry list of a beer-hazed 5 day stop in Belgium.)

At the end of our 5 days, I have to say that I was ready to leave. Not only is the beer expensive (but trust me, worth every penny), it made me start to worry that I had a problem. This was evident in some barely understandable facebook activity:

fb post for belgiam beer

This is not a picture of a church

I mean, it’s probably not normal to start planning out what beers you want to drink when you are less than halfway through your first cup of coffee. (In my defense, we did have to eat breakfast in a bar – where the orange juice was literally less than a foot from the beer taps.)

Yes, too much of a good thing started to prove to be a bad thing. But don’t worry Belgium, I’ll be back after a good, oh, let’s say 4 or 5 years of drying out.


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Author: Brian

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