Tribute to Belgian Beer:
5 Must-Try Beers
Oh dear Belgium, holy land of... BEERS! As a proud Belgian, you know that besides our national holiday, there's another date you should mark in your calendar with fiery red letters: Friday, August 4th. You might be a bit surprised, like Columbus once directed his gaze towards America instead of India. But don't worry, we're here to help: every first Friday of August is celebrated as International Beer Day. A day when we raise our glasses, toast, and enjoy the liquid gold that our country is so rich in. And we have good news for you: there's still enough time to brush up on your beer knowledge before we bring out the party hats and Belgian flags. We've compiled the most important beer facts for you so that you'll soon know everything about this foamy delight.
Every Belgian beer has gone through a special process to create unique flavors that we love so much. Since 2016, Belgian beer culture has even been added to UNESCO's 'Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'. Rest assured, we won't give you a history lesson here. Instead, we want to tell you all about the brewing process and create a top five list of our favorite beers just for you.
Step 1: Malting - We start with grains (usually barley). The grains germinate and dry, creating enzymes. These enzymes later convert starch into sugars. Without these enzymes, there would be no liquid gold in our glass, so cheers to the enzymes that bring our beloved beer to life!
Step 2: Crushing - The malt is crushed, releasing starch. The grain husk remains intact and is later used as a filter. The saying "separating the wheat from the chaff" can be taken quite literally here.
Step 3: Mashing - The finely ground malt is first mixed with water and then heated. The enzymes in the malt convert starch into sugars.
Step 4: Filtering - The mixture is sieved to separate solid parts (also known as spent grains) from liquid parts (known as wort). The wort is used as the base for beer, while the spent grains can be used as animal feed.
Step 5: Boiling - The wort is boiled, and hops and spices are added. This gives the mixture the necessary bitterness and sterilizes it. Then the brew is filtered, leaving only the pure essence. We can almost taste the delicious flavor!
Step 6: Fermentation - The cooled wort is mixed with yeast. The yeast converts sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Did you know that carbon dioxide is responsible for the sparkle and foam in beer?
Step 7: Maturation - The beer matures in cool tanks, refining its taste and aroma. The beer rests and develops its character. A retreat for our beer!
Step 8: Bottling - The beer is proudly bottled and is now ready to quench your thirst. Enjoy!
OUR TOP 5 FAVORITE BEERS
1. PRINCIPALE: We kick off with a true gem among craft beers: Principale. With its refined taste and character, this beer from Van Steenberge Brewery undoubtedly deserves the first place on our list. A unique blend of aromas and a perfect balance between bitterness and sweetness make this an extraordinary choice for both newcomers to the beer world and discerning beer enthusiasts. Are you someone who always seeks that little extra? Then turn your Principale into a beer cocktail!
2. FOURCHETTE: This culinary beer was designed by top chefs, specifically to tempt food connoisseurs like you to pair beer instead of wine with a delicious meal. Tip: forget those traditional beer glasses because this beer tastes best when poured into a wine glass. The beer has a fruity and floral flavor with hints of citrus, grapefruit, coriander, and cloves.
3. KRIEK: A striking presence among craft beers is cherry beer! A delightful beer known for its intense cherry flavor. With its vibrant reddish-pink color and sweet aromas, this beer is an absolute must-try! Tip: when the temperatures rise, this refreshing and tart beer is the perfect thirst quencher. Pair this cherry delight with a refreshing salad or creamy soft cheese.
4. BAPTIST: This beer is your partner in crime on a hot summer day! An approachable craft beer that is lightly refreshing with hints of coriander and orange. This beer also pairs deliciously with chicken or fish dishes!
5. DUVEL: Duvel impresses countless beer lovers in the world of Belgian beers. The beer got its name during a tasting session in 1923 when a local shoemaker exclaimed, "A real devil!" And so the beer was christened. As for the taste, Duvel offers a powerful and full-bodied flavor that should be enjoyed slowly. This liquid delight pairs exceptionally well with this Belgian classic: mussels! A combination that will leave you licking your fingers!
You don't need a course in beerology to taste beer because the simple wisdom applies here: "Practice makes perfect." At La Quincaillerie, we know better than anyone how to combine this liquid happiness with the most delicious meals. All you have to do is reserve a table and gather good company. Our beer recommendations come for free!