Belgium is one of the most noted beer regions in the world and is home to a number of the top breweries. With the seemingly endless choice of Belgian beers, how do you know which ones to choose? According to RateBeer.com, here are the top three breweries in Belgium.
1. De Struise Brouwers
De Struise Brouwers (DSB) is a small brewery in Oostvleteren, Belgium that is relatively new on the Belgian beer scene. Open since 2001, the brewery was founded by owners of a nearby ostrich farm that featured vacation accommodations. Philippe Driessens and Urbain Coutteau wanted to create signature craft beers to serve to guests and teamed up with local winemaker, Carlo Grootaert.
While De Struise Brouwers features a number of excellent craft beers, here is a look at a few of their most highly rated ones.
Struise Pannepot — named after traditional fishing boats seen in the village of De Panne. (10.0% ABV)
Struise Pannepot Reserve — Barrel aged version of the Pannepot released each year. (10.0% ABV)
Struise Black Albert — Strong spout inspired by British Imperial Stout tradition. Named for Belgian King Albert II. (13.0% ABV)
Cuvée Delphine — Limited bottling of the Black Albert aged in Four Roses Bourbon barrels and named after King Albert II’s alleged illegitimate daughter, Belgian artist, Delphine Boël . The label has a design by the artist and reads, “Truth Can Set You Free”.
De Struise Brouwers
Osstvleteren, 8640 Belgim
Open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
2. Westvleteren Brewery
This is a Belgian brewery founded in 1838 inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren. The brewery only produces three beers, but has managed to achieve international acclaim and a reputation for excellent craft beers.
The three beers the brewery produces are:
Westvleteren Blonde — has a green cap and is 5.8% ABV.
Westvleteren 8 — has a blue cap, was formerly known as Extra and is 8% ABV
Westvleteren 12 — has a yellow cap, formerly known as Abt and has 10.2% ABV
Westvleteren beers are only sold at the brewery and to individuals only (customers agree not to re-sell the beer to any third party).
Hours are very limited and vary – best to check the website before going
Rochefort is another Trappist brewery and produces three beers. The brewery is located inside the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy and has been brewing beer since 1595. It is not open to the public and the monks are very secretive about the brewing process, so little is known about the elusive Rochefort.
Here are the three beers they produce, which are somewhat readily available in the United States:
Rochefort 6 — has a red cap and reddish color, 7.5% ABV. The taste is intense caramel, fruit and hints of raisins. It is brewed only once a year and is difficult to obtain.
Rochefort 8 — has a green cap and yellowish-brown color, 9.2% ABV. The aroma is more pronounced with more fruits and a hint of Demi-Sec. It is the largest produced beer by Rochefort.
Rochefort 10 — has a blue cap and a reddish-brown colour, 11.3%. The beer has an aroma of figs and feels like honey in the mouth.