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Belgian & Belgian-Style Beer

Learn all about Belgian and Belgian-style beer from expert Katherine Kyle in this Howcast video.


Belgium as a region held onto a wide range of their ancient brewing techniques. There are many things that set Belgian beers apart from other beers. The first primary reason is their yeast. Over the years their yeast really developed into something very distinct and special. Belgian beers can also be slightly spiced. You might find bits of orange peel, coriander, or even pepper in them.

Also in Belgian beer, they will use sometimes dark caramelized sugar, commonly referred to as candy sugar. And that's, they can also actually use the light candy sugar in some of their beers too. What happens there is the, when you're drinking a dark Belgian, instead of the roasty and sort of chocolate flavors that come from roasted malt, those flavors get substituted for more raisin-like, toffee, or creme brûlée type flavors. So that's an element that you're going to find that's usually a little bit different in Belgian or Belgian-style beers. It's really interesting, in the craft beer movement in the United States there were a few importers, like Vanberg & DeWulf, who famously imported Saison Dupont and it really just turned the beer world on its head.

People were inspired. You know, some people might even say that was the genesis of this latest resurgence of the craft beer movement where, you know, these Belgian beers that were imported showing everybody, you know, some of the wide range of what beers can be. You can see the influence of Belgian beers and Belgian imports just in the fact of how many American craft brewers do Belgian styles, like doubles, triples, saisons, and witbiers. So Belgian beer has had a huge, huge impact on the beer world and the craft beer world specifically here in America.

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