Brewed in the same way as any other beer until they are bottled. They are the stored at a cool temperature, slowly rotated until all the sediment drops to the neck of the bottle. The neck is then frozen and the sediment plug is removed, leaving a bright vibrant sparkling beer behind... "beer méthode champenoise".

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    Lambic, among the world's rarest beers. These products mature in oak for many years prior to release.

    This unusual beer family brewed mainly by small farmhouse breweries near Brussels maintain a tradition for spontaneously fermenting beers. No yeast is added, the magical micro organisms of the area enter the brew left in open vessels in dusty galleries overnight. Afterwards two fermentations take place, in wooden casks, the first over a week and subsequently over months, as the beer is stored. Lambics are esoteric specialties and very individual.

    Brewed using stale hops. Fermented using wild yeasts, bacteria and a cocktail of many other (often unidentified) micro-organisms. Matured in oak barrels for maybe 3 to 5 years in dank, cobweb-ridden chambers. Frequently so sour and acidic that the first mouthful can come as a shock. Often infused with fruits. Who but the Belgians would even think of brewing beer like this? What would a British Environmental Health Officer make of a lambic brewery.

    Lambics should be totally disgusting and un-drinkable beers, but on the contrary, they make some of the most delicious, remarkable and refreshing beers you could ever drink.

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    A particular speciality of West Flanders. They get their colour from the dark malts used in their production. Like geuzes, red beers and Oud Bruins tend to be blends of old and young brews. To make the similarities greater, they are sour, although never so sour as the most extreme geuzes and often it is barely noticeable.

    Rodenbach is undoubtedly the classic of the type of Red Beer. There are two brews; Klassiek and Grand Cru. If you just ask for "A Rodenbach" (Een Rodenbache) you will be served the Klassiek, which is a blend of mature and new beer.

    Grand Cru is made purely from the aged beer and displays a much more complex flavour. Rodenbach Grand Cru was described by beer writer Michael Jackson as "the most refreshing beer in the world."

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    Many distinctive variations of dark brown ales are made in Belgium, especially in Flanders. The classic style, with an interplay of caramel-like malty sweetness and a sourness gained in several months of maturation (usually in metal tanks), is sometimes identified as Oud ("Old") Bruin (the pronunciation is almost the same as the English word "brown").

    The most complex examples have a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The flavour and acidity render these the perfect base for the Flemish beef stew carbonade Flamande. The most famous producing town is Oudenaarde.

    The classic Oud Bruin is Goudenband once of liefmans (now owned by Mourgatte of Duvel fame) to prove these beers can age for decades I tried a 16 year old 75cl bottle in 2011 ... it was so so smooth and rewarding.

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    The traditional Fruit for making kriek is the Schaarbeek cherry, named after the Brussels district of that name. Sadly Schaarbeek cherries are very rare these days, so ordinary ones are generally used instead. Occasionally though, a lambic producer manages to get hold of some Schaarbeek cherries and the resulting beer is something special.

    Large amounts of fruit are infused into geuze for a period of several months. When well done, the contrast between the sweetness of the fruit and the sourness of the geuze can make for a deliciously well-balanced drink. The commonest varieties are kriek (cherries) and frambozen/framboise (raspberries) although other fruits such as grapes and peaches are also sometimes used.

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    Generally blond but not always.. Brewed in the belgian style with added honey during the boil or for primming. The honey is not too over powering generally producing a subtle sweat taste? power to the bees.

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    Generally easier drinking but with no less character, often the abv% is lower than many Belgian styles, 5% - 7% abv. Don't let this put you off... these are often the beers to fill the majority of the evenings drinking!

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    These are complex and strong top fermented ales. Duvel is the archetypal Belgian blonde ale, and one of the most popular bottled beers in the country as well as being well-known internationally. Its name means "Devil" and some other blonde beers follow the theme? Satan, Lucifer and Judas for example. Deceptive in their strength as all are light in palate.

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    Can there be a town in Britain where you can't get a glass of Hoegaarden? Probably the most readily available Belgian beer after the awful Stella Artois (which in any case is actually contract-brewed in Whitbread's factories) this beer re-established the popularity of wheat beers in Belgium; they had all but died out by the mid-seventies.

    Unfortunately, Hoegaarden has been bummed-down a fair bit by InBev, who even tried (and failed) to move production to their Jupille fizz-factory in Wallonia.You can recognise wheat beers by the fact that they're often called "blanche" (if from Wallonia) or "wit" (from Flanders.) Perhaps the greatest service Hoegaarden has rendered is to remind the British drinker that a beer that's cloudy isn't necessarily off.

    The protein haze that is typical of wheat beers only disappears when they've had all the flavour filtered and pasteurised out of them. Spices are very commonly added to Belgian wheat beers, coriander, curacao and orange peel, something that would make a German brewer blanche!

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    Saison is what the Belgians call a beer of the terroir, a traditional farmhouse ale with all the rich savour of the fertile land of southern Belgium. Saison, a warm golden blonde beer, is a top-fermented classic.

    They originate from the days when they were unable to brew in the summer months as they were unable to control the fermentation as a result a beer in the spring which was packed with hops and fully attenuated.

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    These beers generally fit into the CAT S category but we have taken them out separately to identify them by there colour. Generally easy drinking with a slight sweetness and greater mouth feel than say a blond or tripel.

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    These beers don't strictly fit into any specific category, however they provide some of the most fantastic beers to be found in Belgium. Varying from dark, light, spiced to heavily hopped they have a multitude of characteristics awaiting you discovery.

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    Tripel is a term used originally by brewers in the Low Countries to describe a strong pale ale, and became associated with Westmalle Tripple. The style of Westmalle's Tripel and the name was widely copied by the breweries of Belgium, then the term spread to the USA and other countries. Gulden Draak was awarded the best-tasting beer in the world in 1998 by the American Tasting Institute and contrary to most tripels is a dark as it gets.

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    Dubbel (double) has a characteristic brown colour. It is one of the classic Abbey/Trappist types, having been developed in the 19th century at the Trappist monastery in Westmalle. Today, some commercial brewers using abbey names call their strong brown beers "Dubbel". Typically, a dubbel is between 6 and 8% abv. In addition to the dubbels made by most Trappist breweries, examples include Sint Bernardus Pater, Maredesous 8 and Witkap Dubbel.

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    Once upon a time, when drinking water wasn't to be trusted, every abbey brewed its own beer to sustain its monks and provide refreshment for visitors. Today, brewing is only carried out in a small number of monasteries, although many commercial brewers produce beers with monastic connections; some real, others imagined.

    Many of these beers are produced under license from the associated monastery, which receives a royalty on each bottle sold. Such is the commercial cachet of the abbey connection, a good many beers exist which, while trying to imply a monastic connection, actually have none. Indeed, many beers are named after long-defunct abbeys.

    Only beer brewed under the direct supervision of Trappist monks may be designated as "Trappist" beer. There are currently seven such breweries, six in Belgium plus a single Trappist brewery in the Netherlands.

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    A great inheritance from Scotland, when in those good old days, a lot of British beers were exported to Belgium. Today, we can still observe this inheritance in the overall beer choice in Belgian local cafes.

    You will always notice beer styles like Stout, Pale Ale, and Scotch Ale. Beer styles which have become part of the rich Belgian Beer scene. Combinations of roasted malts and candy sugar give these beers a sweetness whilst obtaining a wonderful dense creamy body. They drinks that smooth that and in no time your glass will be empty.

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    Despite being in most respects an admirable country, the Republic of Ireland casts a long shadow over the world of stouts. Guinness is a mediocre stout with an ABV of barely over 4% on which the head is more important than the body. Fortunately, Belgian stout brewers don't feel they need to follow Dublin's example. Indeed even Guinness has recognised the folly so they export a heavier 8.8% version from Dublin. Belgian stouts tend to be higher in alcohol than average, are very dark and full-bodied and may be dry or sweetish.

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    A quality mixture of UK and special friends ales in the bottle. Often less carbonated with a more pronounced bitterness.

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