Imagine yourself sitting at the idyllic and busy Grand Place in Brussels, watching as the people walk by. You’re keeping a light conversation with your travel companion as you’re both marveling at the beautiful architecture. But the best part of this setting is the amazing, cold Belgian beer in your hand! If Belgium is the beer country of the world, Brussels is certainly the capital. With an overwhelming amount of different kinds, brands and flavors the beer industry is worth exploring. There is a brand or flavor to suit any preference, and you are sure to find at least one new favorite to scribble down in your notebook whilst relaxing in the many bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants of Brussels. Check out our list of 7 things you didn’t know about Belgian beer.
1. Fruit Beer
If you’re not a beer lover or just want to try something really different, you should try the fruit beers. This type of beverage falls under the category of Lambic Beers, where whole fruits are added to the process, adding either a subtle or strong fruit flavor. They often hold a red color and have a sweet taste. There are hundreds of different flavors to try, such as Liefmans Orange Bourbon, Crushed Chili or Mint & Lime.
2. Kwak - best served in specialty glasses
Pauwel Kwak first brewed this beer in the 18th century. He also worked at a coaching inn along one of the roads nearby the city of Gent, where the mail coaches would often stop for a break. The Napoleonic Code was still in function at the time, which meant that drivers were not allowed to leave their coach or drink with their passengers. To solve this and make some extra money off the drivers, Kwak designed the special glasses that could be fixed to the carriages, so the drivers could enjoy cold beverages too.
3. Chimay Brewery
This brewery produces beer and cheese and is a popular tourist attraction. The beer is brewed in a monastery, and it is one of only eleven breweries to offer Trappist beer. It was founded in 1862 and today it produces three widely distributed types of ale as well as tasty cheese.
Cenosillicaphobia is the actual fear of having an empty beer glass. For some, this seems to be a periodic state, typically during the summer, but you need not worry, a study published in American Journal of Epidemiology has shown that drinking a bottle of beer every day can reduce the risk of kidney stones by 40%. So bottoms up.
5. Vielle Bon Secours – The world’s most expensive beer
Allegedly, the world’s most expensive beer called Vielle Bon Secours, costs $1000 for the grand 12 liter bottle. The beer is (of course) Belgian, but can only be found at the Biendrome bar in London. The large bottle has been stored for 10 years, with an alcohol volume of 8%. A glass of this golden liquid will cost you around $50, and for that price, you will be able to savor the complex taste of toffee, caramel, citrus with liquor ice and aniseed undertones.
6. Land of breweries
Belgium has over 160 different breweries, ranging from grand scale to nano, pico and micro. There is an estimated total of 400 brands of beer in the world, and many of these come from Belgium. Most of these brands and types have their own respective glasses in which only that beer may be served.
7. Beer consumption
The most popular of the many, many types of beer is the pilsner. This light beverage accounts for three quarters of the overall beer consumption in Belgium. Average annual consumption per capita is around 80 liters, however it used to be at around 120 liters. This lands them at 10th place for beer consumption. First place goes to the Czech Republic, with an annual average of 143 liters per capita.
If you have a thirst that needs quenching after reading these facts, start planning your stay at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Brussels. Cheers!
Psst! Interested in travel photography? Then check out these stunning photos of Brussels by urban photographer Sébastien Nagy.