Beer Flight Podcast: Belgium

Maybe it’s pretension, maybe it’s centuries of incredibly crafted beer. Belgium offers sophisticated beers and a drinking culture like no other. In our first episode we tackle the tour de force that is Belgian beer.

Listen to Craig and Billy chat with Nicolas Hoffmann as we survey our favorite places to drink, the beauty of glassware, and provide tips on traveling to Belgium on a beer trip.

Belgium boasts a very rich brewing tradition producing more than 400 beer styles and over 300 breweries in the geographic area roughly the size of Maryland. They are a product of the convergence of French, Flemish, German, Dutch cultures you see a mash of different languages and food. They specialize in things people love: waffles, fries, chocolate, comics, and certainly beer. 

There are six official trappist breweries that still make and sell beer in Belgium: Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren, and Westmalle.

But also, AB InBev is the world’s largest industry giant and based in Leuven. Their portfolio includes Stella, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Becks, Budwiezer, Corona, Modela, Jupiler, and many more.

You can divide Belgium into a few distinct beer regions. In Flanders, you’ll find more sours and wheat and beer that is meant to taste a little off. Pajottenland is home of lambics and gueuze styles and made with spontaneous fermentation. Wallonia is where you’ll drink the saison which came from more modest origins from the countryside. 

In Bruges, Halve Maan Brewery laid a beer pipeline from their production facility to its bottling plant two miles away. It transports 1000 gal of beer per hour equivalent to 12,000 bottles underneath the ancient roads and buildings. They crowdsourced the funds where over 500 donors now receive beer for life for their generosity. 

our guest

Nicolas Hoffmann

Doctor of Medical History, Beer Enthusiast and Host of Myopid: Defend your Childhood Podcast:

beer we drank

Petrus Aged Pale

Belgian style pale ale brewed by De Brabandere

Three Taverns Quasimodo

Belgian-style Quadrupel Ale

Round Trip White Gose

Belgian wit and German gose blend