Monday, October 17, 2005

450 reasons for envy

When I moved to Belgium everyone seemed to envy me for two things: the beer and the chocolate. And pity me for one: the weather.

I have to confess: I am not a beer drinker, but a devoted wine drinker. I drink beer, however the type that is dismissed by the ‘real’ beer drinkers, namely the fruit beer and the honey beer. The latter is also slowly becoming my favorite.

But a blog on Brussels and food and wine, would not be complete without a page dedicated to Belgian beer. With wine and cheese I try to taste a different one at least every week (ok, usually one or the other more than once a week). I can not promise to have the same approach to beer, but luckily for the ... blog, I have dedicated beer drinkers around me. And they promised to help, to take pictures, to write reviews. To blog.

To give you an idea of the task ahead with regards to Belgian beers (and the reason for the envy), I think a short overview would help. There are over 450 beer varieties in Belgium. The classification of Belgian beers covers normal pils beers, abbey and trappist beers, gueuze and kriek, white and brown beers, as well as seasonal beers. The trappist are beers specific to Belgium, as the only existent six Trappistes are all produced here: Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Westvleteren.

And besides remembering all this information, one also has to make sure that each beer is drunk out of the right glass. Because almost every beer has a specially designed glass to accompany it.

So let the journey into the beer paradise begin.


Anonymous said...

As I am a devoted LEFFE drinker, could you tell me more about the difference(s) between the TONGERLO which I was told is very similar to LEFFE and LEFFE itself ?

Otherwise many thanks for all the information !!! Really enjoyed your blog (intellectually as well as well as concretely) !!

Andreea said...

As mentioned I am not a beer expert, but what I could find on the differences between the two blondes (not many ...) are the following: Leffe undergoes high fermentation, Tongerlo two fermentations. Leffe is 6,6% alcohol and needs to be served at 5-6°, while Tongerlo is 6% alcohol and can be served somewhat warmer. Leffe has a full, soft and fruity (bitter orange) taste, while Tongerlo more of a flowery, sherry like aroma.
Best I think is to try them and see which one you like best. And stick with that one :)
Hope this helps.