Belgium is my version of Guns 'n' Roses' Paradise City, where the grass is green and the beers are plenty. Here's my guide to a few of the different styles you'll find in the Belgian section of your local beer shop.
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This was my second trip to Belgium, but my first as a brewer. I went looking for inspiration, to taste some of the best beers in the world in their native land, but also see what's new, what's developing, what direction Belgian beer is taking.
I don't tend to go to a new city to see the sights, I go there to expose myself to the experiences unique to a given area—to feel something rather than to see something. And as a Serious Eater and a beer geek, I feel my way around most towns mouth first. On a trip that began in the birthplace of my personal interest in beer (Rome) and ended in the birthplace of my favorite category of beer (lambic), I expected to drink a lot of beer. Let's just say my expectations were met.
Why go to Belgium? These five words pretty much sum it up: beer, waffles, french fries, chocolate. Now, I'm only certified to speak as an authority on one of these consumables, and as much as I'd like to say that I'm a card-carrying french fry expert, I'm not. I'm a beer guy. So here's my guide to the best spots for drinking beer in the city of Bruges.
DeuS is marketed as a top-shelf "divine beverage" somewhere between a beer and a sparkling wine. It's sold in a 750-ml Champagne bottle, at Champagne prices. Brewed in Belgium by Brouwerij Bosteels, DeuS undergoes fermentation and maturation in Belgium, but is then transported to the Champagne region of France, where sugars and yeast are added for refermentation and a long aging, and a temporary cap is put on.
You shouldn't look at a twelve-ounce bottle of Belgian dubbel and think, "For that much money, I could practically get a six pack of my regular beer." It depends on your priorities (and your regular beer), but this week's tasting convinced me that a single goblet of Belgian dubbel is an experience well worth the expense.