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Belgian and French Ale

What are the types of Belgian style ale?


When it comes to Belgian ales, the first thing that most people think of are fruity flavored beers with thick foam. While that generalization is not false, it’s certainly far from all-encompassing either. Belgian ales are vast and varied. Before you buy Belgian ales online, you’ll want to read this.

  • Abbey Ales
    Dubbel, Tripel, and Quadruple. These are the basic Belgian beers, but who knows why they’re named after numerals? Historians can’t seem to agree on origins, but there does seem to be a correlation in strength. As the number goes up, so does the strength. Quadruples can creep towards 12% APV. These brews have beet sugar, a light body, and essence of fruits like pear and banana.

  • Farmhouse Ales
    Beers rooted in the seasons and developed in rural areas, Saison and Biere de Garde make up this variety. These are beers with a fun history. It was made by farmers in the cooler seasons while there wasn’t much to do. They used leftover grain to brew beer for their workers in the warmer seasons and then fed the spent grain to livestock. It was a win-win situation. Available from blonde to brown, these beers have high energy and a hoppy flavor rarely found in Belgium.

  • Sour Ales
    Perhaps the best-known variety is Lambic. Produced largely around Brussels, these beers have strong fruity flavors and thick foams.
  • Reds and Browns
    Sour and linked to porters, reds and browns come from northern Belgium. Expect rich flavors of dark berries with a touch of malt. If someone buys stout beer, you’re probably envisioning a dark beer with a creamy head. An Irish Guinness is typically the first thing that comes to mind. What makes a stout is flavor based, however, and not visual presentation based. A stout beer is one that has a rich, robust flavor. This is due to the roasting of Barley during the brewing cycle. In a stout, the barley is highly roasted in a kiln before it is malted.

    Is there a difference in Belgian ale and French ale?


    When it comes to the farmhouse ales, in a word, not really. They’re generally brewed in the same fashion and have similar tastes. Enthusiasts will tell you that Belgium ales have a richer flavor profile.


    What is the ideal way to serve Belgian style ale?


    Belgian ales are often served in a goblet style glass. Some say that in Belgium, every brand of beer has a specific glass! In general, a tulip or goblet-shaped glass is best. The temperature at which the beer is served depends greatly on what type of Belgian Ale you’re enjoying. While a Wit is best served at 40-45 degrees, Lambic is best at 50-55 degrees. Despite these outliers, the vast majority of Belgian Ales are best served warm, around 55-60 degrees.

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