10 Best Belgian Beers

(In my opinion, of course) Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments!

10. Jupiler

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Yes, Jupiler is a pilsener, but it is my favorite pilsener. Simple but reliably tasty. Pronounced in the French fashion. 5.2%

9. Vedett

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Vedett is sort of beer that is difficult to pinpoint. I like it, but I don’t love it as much as some other Belgian beers, but I’m not actually sure why. Furthermore, it is the only beer on this list I would say looks like it belongs in a chic hipster bar in Portland, so props for following your own path, Vedett. 5.2%

8. Kasteel

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There are many different types of Kasteel, so it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what I like about Kasteel beers, but perhaps they should just get some props for being diverse. Kasteel Trippel, 11%.

7. Hoegaarden

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Hoegaarden is the only beer on this list that I have also tried in the U.S., where everyone pronounces it as if it were a “garden for ho’s”. (In Dutch, it’s pronounced something like “who-khar-den”.) It’s a white beer, and it is crisp, refreshing, slightly sweet and very affordable. It is probably my favorite light beer in Belgium. 4.9%

6. La Chouffe

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I’m not sure if I can explain what I like about La Chouffe, except that I have had it a zillion times and every time it is delicious. Furthermore, it is a golden ale (see Duvel below). La Chouffe means predictably “the gnome” in one of the Wallonian dialects (although I’m not sure which one). 8%

5. Brugse Zot

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I really really like this beer, which means loosely “fool from Bruges”, in Flemish. “Zot” also sounds curiously like the Flemish word for drunk, “zat.” Coincidence? I think not. If I started my own brewery, I would most definitely produce a beer called “De Zatte Zot”. 6%

4. Kwak

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Kwak is an interesting beer, because it almost seems like it thinks it’s better than you. I am 90% sure it is punishable by law to drink Kwak straight out of the bottle. (I’ve never seen it done at least). Second, it comes in this monstrosity of a chalice, with which you practically have to use two hands to take a sip. Lastly, if you don’t know how to pour beer, Kwak will likely end up being 90% foam in such a glass. Despite all this, or maybe because of it, Kwak is outstandingly tasty. 8.4%

3. Malheur

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Malheur is dangereux. Not only is the strongest beer on this list, as well as the one with the most pungent flavor (in my opinion), but the name in French literally means misfortune. Even the look of the bottle and color of the beer are ominous. This beer was ordered at the famed bar ‘De Kulminator’ in Antwerp by a friend of a friend of my mine. Halfway through drinking the beer, she spilled it all over the table. She attempted to apologize for making a mess. The friendly old waitress smiled and said, “Het is een Malheur.” C’est comme ça. 12%

2. Westmalle

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Westmalle is probably my favorite Trappist beer. (Although they are all amazing). A Trappist beer is a beer brewed by ‘trappists’ in monasteries in four countries around the world. Next time you drink a Trappist beer, imagine monks in traditional clothing toiling over your beverage…It will taste ever better. Only 10 breweries in the world can brew and sell beer labelled as Authentic Trappist Products (six of them are in Belgium). Dubbel 7%. Trippel 9.5%

1. Duvel

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Yes, the image of Duvel is purposefully larger than all the other beers in the list. This is because Duvel is undeniably my favorite Belgian beer, and thus my favorite beer in the world. One of the things that I think that will be most difficult when leaving Belgium is giving up Duvels for less that 2 euros. Duvel is very strong, but doesn’t taste like it. It is smooth, full of flavor and still very refreshing. I think it probably also has the bombest-looking chalice out of the lot. Finally, ‘Duvel’ means “the devil” in Brabantian, Antwerpian and Gentian Flemish, so it is definitely a beer than can creep up on you and steal your soul. Yes, I think I may have already sold my soul to the Duvel. 9.5%

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3 thoughts on “10 Best Belgian Beers

  1. I agree with Kasteel and Duvel for a top 10. You can’t seem to get away from Duvel, its everywhere but it’s excellence is undeniable. Love the liquorice and caramel notes of Kasteel Bruin, and kasteel cuvee du chateau.

    I also think: Trappiste Rochefort 8, Trappiste Achel Extra, Westvleteren 12, De Dolle Oerbier and Noir de Dottignies should be on the list 🙂 imo

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