Belgian beer is really rather special. Whether it is the fruity Lambics or the Abbey or Trappiste beers that you prefer, there are certainly hundreds from which to choose. So what is the appeal of brewing Belgian beer?
Don’t think that the Stellas, Jupiler and similar Interbrew mass produced draft beers are typical of the region. When you drink a real Belgian beer, you will know the difference. The trouble is, although becoming increasingly popular, it is still not too easy to find a pint of Belgian beer being sold outside of Belgium. Well, now you can brew your own and they are surprisingly good.
Brewing Belgian beer from a kit
Several homebrew companies now produce beer kits which produce very good imitations of the more well know Belgian style beers. Belgian beer kits generally take a couple of weeks longer to brew than the average beer kit to achieve a higher alcohol content and subtle Abbey beer style flavours.
Brewferm now produce 13 different styles of Belgian beer kits, each of which will make between 7 and 20 litres of beer. As well as the more common Pils, Gold and Wheat beer styles, you can also try the more adventurous Gallia, Diabolo, Abbey, Ambiorix, Triple, Old Brown, Grand Cru and not forgetting their rather superb Christmas ale. Or, if you like a fruit beer, then the Lambic Kriek or Framboise may be for you. I have known a lot of women who thought they didn’t like beer, who then tried a Kriek cherry beer or a Framboise raspberry beer and quickly changed their minds.
Be warned though. Some of these beers are not for the faint hearted, such as the Grand Cru and Triple at about 8,0% abv, although this isn’t exceptional for a Belgian beer. Having said that, the Pils and Wheat beers are a more everyday tipple at 4,5% and 5,0%. These kits are reasonably priced and very straightforward to brew at home.
Milestone Crusader is another increasingly popular Belgian style beer kit. This is a blond style Beer with a zesty clean finish and at about 4.4% very drinkable. The kit makes up to 40 pints, and at less than £20, makes a very reasonably priced pint.
Finally, I want to mention the Beers of the World kits. The Trappist Tripel is pale and strong with a fruity character. Although high in alcohol its body remains light due to the inclusion of genuine Belgian “candi sugar”. They also make a Belgian Witbier. Wheat beers, whilst deservedly popular all over the world, have until now been rather difficult to brew at home. This kit puts that right.
Beers of the World kits are really designed as refills for the Brubox starter kits. However, there is nothing to stop you from making it up as a normal beer kit. It will make 10 litres of excellent beer for the price of about £13. Try finding a Tripel for that price in your local.
So that gives you a quick overview of the Belgian beer kits which you can try at home. Brewing Belgian beer is a lot easier than you may think and the results drink for themselves. And if this is your first time trying homebrew, remember that your second batch will be much cheaper without the start-up equipment costs.
So what are you waiting for? Show your friends and family what a real Belgian beer tastes like.
You can see a large range of Belgian beer kits at Home Brew Online.