Is Belgian beer the best in the world?

First of all I’m not Belgian myself (though I live closeby), but my limited (in kinds not amount:))experience of European (and also some American, Indian and Cuban) beers is that Belgian beer is best by far.

When responding please indicate i you ar a familiar (an to what extent) with Belgian beer…

Duvel, Maredsous, Hoegaarden, Chouffe…:o

Belgian beer is the best in the world with an iportant provise - if you like Belgian beer! :smiley: Seriously, the average swiller of Bud and Miller isn’t going to care for a Chimay.

I’ve been sober 4-5 years, but used to be a big fan of all types of fine beers, tho my personal faves tended towards stouts and hop-heavy ales. But I definitely enjoyed my Delerium Tremens, and had a couple of Stille Nachts “cellared” in my basement for a few years. I enjoy Belgians more when the weather cooled. A beer for every season…

I’m no expert on Belgians, but I used to attend and host beer tastings of all types of malt beverages. My recollection is that Belgium has more breweries per capita than any other country. Ya gotta respect that level of committment!


There, that was simple.

Nope, Czech.

No, I prefer British ales and Czech lagers, when I drink lager at all. Hoegaarden is quite nice, though.

Back when I was a drunk I could correctly type “important proviso”! :wink:

They tend to be my favorite ales, much better in my opinion, than most British ales. But they also tend to have a lot of alcohol, and can be expensive, so for me there are many fine alternatives. And sometimes you’re just in the mood for something else.

Don’t know that you can categorically say that something subject to taste is the best anything.

Exactly. Try some Pilsner Urquell, or Staropramen, or the original Budweiser (from Budvar) to find out why. Germany is a close second (no place else could come up with something like Rauchbier).

Only then can you begin to mention Belgian beer. :wink:

Actually I’ve had my fair share of experience with Czech beer. And while I like them fine (especially the ones with lower score - please don’t ask me what they mean, but you can often choose between different numbers which indicate how ‘heavy’ they are and I prefered Staropramen 10" to Staropramen 12") I still prefer the Belgians. The sheer amount of diiferent beers of high quality is just awesome.

I will concede that Belgian beer can be best appreciated if you try the ‘special’ beers that are indeed heavier and often have more alcohol. When thinking about your day in day out Lagers i must say that there are many, many good ones (and off course also bad ones) all over the place.

I think the main thing is that Belgian beers are completely different from all other beers, due to the brewing practices there, and they’re pretty much unreproducable anywhere else. It’s like saying that Cirque du Soleil is the best circus in the world, or Blue Man Group is the best musical act.

Pilsner Urquell, like Heineken is primarily for export. Locals don’t drink it. Any beer is only as good as its freshness, so most imports in the states are undrinkable, IMO. Czech beer in Prague or Pilzn is to die for, however. I was never a real fan of Belgian beers, and I lived in Brussels for two years. I prefer German or Czech or a good British ale.

In the US (or at least this part of it), it’s sold under the name Czechvar, and it is quite good.

Belgian beer can’t be the best in the world, because Chico, CA isn’t in Belgium.

Is Belgian beer good? Yes.
Are there better beers out there? Yes.
Does it really matter, as long as you have a good beer available to fit your place and mood? No.

But a Duvel really hits the spot sometimes.

I lived in Germany for 3.5 years and had the pleasure of sampling all sorts of beers in my travels. Belgian beer (for the most part) is very good. But it’s no better than the good beers of Germany, the UK, and the Czech republic. Those 4 countries are probably the best beer makers I encountered. Stella Artois, the most exported Belgian Beer, is garbage, in my opinion. They export their crap, so there you go, and it’s not representative of Belgian beer as a whole.

Oh, and Duvel will also really mess you up if you have more than 2 or 3.

You can certainly make a good argument for Belgian beer being the best in the world. I, personally, would make the case for the US, for its huge range, innovation, resurrecting forgotten styles of beer, and quality.

I tend to like either hoppy styles of beer (like IPAs) or really dark, malty styles of beer (porters, stouts, bocks, etc.) so Belgian beers don’t really fit my style. However, every once in a while I have a craving for a yeasty, spicy Belgian abbey ale or a crisp, stinky, sour unflavored lambic.

The types of styles the Belgians make, they absolutely excel in. Witbiers, Flemish brown ales, lambics, abbey and trappist ales, saisons, etc. If those are your styles and tastes, I’d say Belgium is most definitely the beer country for you. For a country its size, it’s got a wonderful diversity of beer and all-around high quality. And purity laws be damned. A whole mess of shit can go into Belgian beer, so I give Belgians credit for expanding the definition of beer and experimenting.

Very familiar with Belgian beer (lived in Ghent for a year) and Belgian beers are by far my favorite. The range of types of beer there is really remarkable, as Puly has suggested. German beer or Czech beer, for example, tends to be, well, pilsnery lagery flavored. Exceptionally awesome pilsner, but still pilsner (I generalize-- of course I know about German variety and know that a Rauchbier is does taste like pils). English beer like Belgian beer is also a bit more varied in style. And I’m not keen on lagers, so even the best Czech beer is not up my alley. I do like Flemish old browns very very much (not a common opinion, I suspect). Saisons! Abbey tripels that will put you on your ass! Stella, of course IS horrible swill, but that’s just piss lager for the students in Leuven and doesn’t count.

Puly-- there are a few brilliant hoppy Belgian things out there, BTW (especially a couple of breweries out in the hoppy area near Ypres), and I’ve seen Belgian ‘swartbieren’ (black beer-- it tasted a lot like porter). I can dig up the brew names if you desire.

Aren’t Belgian-style beers are mostly lagers, not ales?

I’ve had Belgian & Czech beer, both served to me in their respective countries.

Czech beer is excellent, but I’d give it to Belgium. The natives proudly told me how they have something like 4-600 types, and they’re all great. Of course, I didn’t have the liver to try every one, but yeah, Belgium is the candy store of beers.

I like some Chinese, Japanese & Thai beers too though, and the US is a microbrewery fun-land these days.

Please do. I’m always happy to expand my palate of flavors although, I must say, my favorite Belgians are actually the sour ales and lambics (mostly the stinky, sauerkraut-y non-fruit-flavored geuezes and the like) . I love what the Belgians do with lactobacilli.

You’d love my homebrew lambic. It’s a framboise that’s like sipping a raspberry razor blade. :smiley: