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What Is a Belgian Style Ale Beer?

Lots of experts agree that it’s hard to define & properly categorize Belgian Beers. On a high level, though, as the name suggests, Belgian Beers are Ales focusing on malts, fruitiness, and spices (for the most part, but can vary a lot). These beers can easily even cross the line of being complex.

As chronicled, Belgian breweries were not constrained to adhering to any specifics such as, a certain amount of wheat has to be used, or it has to be made within a given temperature, etc.

More often than not, when a “new” Belgian beer came out, breweries had a free hand in making the beer however they wanted, and utmost attention was paid to how it would taste, feel, and smell, you know, the overall vibe. This zero restrictions to sticking to any laws & rules, as well as the uninhibited expressive approach, resulted in lots of varieties of Belgian Beers.

Primarily, because of this very reason, even today, many struggle to narrow down what exactly a Belgian Beer is.

With all of that being said, there are a few popular Belgian Beer Styles that people may recognize & connect with.

After a long workday, for an everyday person, one of the most acceptable ways to show either a self-appreciation or those from others is to look forward to having a cold one. Perhaps mix that with a current favorite TV show or a riveting movie, and you’d have a complete set of “euphoria.” As they say, never come between a person and their beer + TV time.

When it comes to Belgian Beers, I doubt that the nucleus of a BBQ party or weekend gatherings is going to be on which type of Belgian beer it is, but doesn’t mean it can’t be if one is equipped with the necessary knowledge — to at least start the conversation.

In that spirit of excitement, below are some of the finely-tuned bite-sized summarized details on possibly three cognizable Belgian Beer styles that you may have heard of, read about, or seen on ads.

Belgian White (Also Called Witbier)

Belgian whites can be light-colored, feel quite refreshing, and complement well with citrusy & coriander spice notes. Conceivably, a famous Belgian white Beer that many in the U.S. would associate with is the Blue Moon.

Blue Moon Belgian White
Screenshot captured from the Blue Moon Brewing Company.

Tripel

This Belgian beer type can be misleading on how strong of an alcohol content it has, and how quickly it can get to you, as it can range from 7.5 – 9 % ABV, according to thrillist. From personal experience, I can say that statement to be pretty accurate as I had tried the New Belgium Trippel with 8.5% ABV.

New Belgium Trippel Belgian Style Ale. Screenshot grabbed from the New Belgium Brewing Website.

Dubbels

With an emphasis on the malts, these are darker in color compared to tripels. The spices & fruit notes can often be felt with this Belgian beer style. Chimay Premiere Red is a typical example of a Dubbel.

Chimay Premiere Red Dubbel Beer
Chimay Premiere Red Dubbel Beer. Screenshot taken from the Total Wine Website.

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Closing Thoughts

The beer universe has so much to offer that a lifetime does not feel sufficient. Time being the most valuable asset here, do not wait to try some of the very crafty Belgian Style Ale Beers.

Again, what separates this class from the others is the evident lack of rules, laws, and regulations requiring Belgian breweries to conform to a specific standard.

In anticipation, that knowledge should rev up the excitement level a notch, as you can’t say for sure what to expect taste-wise, which is the entire point of giving Belgian Beers a whirl.

Invariably, the mysterious nature of Belgian Beers is what keeps on attracting more fan base.

Expert sources & citations