To taste a new and exciting beer in Belgium you can go pretty much anywhere. Even convenience stores have hundreds of different kinds. A great place to start, however, is by doing a brewery tour. This gives visitors a window into the creation of beer, and a brief introduction to the various types that can be produced. De Halve Maan brewery, the last active brewery in Bruges is an excellent place to go for a little beer education. The comic, polyglot tour guides show you the current and original ways of making Belgian beer. It really is amazing how the process has changed over the past 500 years, which is approximately how long parts of this brewery has been active. On the Halve Maan brewery tour, you will discover that the depth of flavour depends on the roasting of the malts; the longer the roast, the darker the beer will be. Spice blends are also used in the production of beers, which, in part, accounts for the various flavours you can taste in the different varieties. This brewery also showcases the fact that in Belgium they take their beer very seriously. Therefore, just like in wine, all Belgian beers need to be served in specific glasses to compliment their flavour.
The Bruges brewery tour concludes with a tasting of one of the two beers that the brewery still produces, Brugse Zot, which turned out to be one of my favourite beers in Belgium. A blond beer with 6% alcohol, it is a great beverage for a sunny afternoon on a patio. The restaurant and patio area of Halve Maan brewery also has a full food menu. To continue the celebration of Belgian beer, why not try the beer soup on offer? It makes a great lunch as it is a hearty soup made with beer, cheese, and ham.
After seeing Bruges, Brussels is a great next stop in the search for a great Belgian brew. With many famous Belgian beer bars, you are sure to find something new and wonderful. There are a few beers that are very typical to Belgium. Lambic beers can only be produced in Belgium because they are fermented with a wild yeast that only exists in Belgium. Lambic beer is a little different in flavour and more sour than other beers. Trappist beers are another famous Belgian variety, and can only be designated as such if they are under control of at least one Trappist Monk. Because of this, there are only 7 such breweries in the world, one in the Netherlands and the other 6 in Belgium. To try these or any other beer you could ever imagine, go to Delirium Cafe, where they have one of the largest beer menus in the world – 2004 beers. With chocolate beer and grapefruit beer, you can be confident that you'll be able to try something new and exciting. The staff at this Delirium Cafe are very cool and will advise you on a beer selection if they have time and if you ask.
What search for great Belgian beer would be complete without a stop at Duvel brewery, just outside of Antwerp. A tour through this famous Antwerp brewery introduces you to the production process of this well-hopped golden ale. One of the most famous Belgian beers, Duvel packs a punch at 8.5% alcohol, so be prepared. If Duvel doesn't tempt your palette other favourites to try are La Rulles Estivale and La Rulles Triple Blonde. Whether you prefer something light and sweet, or spicy and hopped up, a Belgien Beer tour through Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels is sure to delight the sense.
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