Looking for a guide on Belgian Drinks (drinks in Belgium) and Belgium Liquor to try? Let’s explore these in this post!
Belgium, known worldwide for its historic architecture, hearty food, and intricate lacework, also boasts a rich and diverse drink culture. From its globally recognized beers to local liquors and soothing non-alcoholic beverages, there’s a drink for every occasion in Belgium.
Whether you’re sipping a pint in a bustling pub or enjoying a quiet cup of hot chocolate at a local café, Belgian drinks offer a unique taste of the country’s vibrant culture and history.
This guide will delve into the must-try Belgian drinks, providing a liquid journey through Belgium’s culinary traditions.
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Belgian Liquor: Best Drinks in Belgium to Try
The Diversity of Belgian Beers
Belgian beer stands at the forefront of the country’s drink culture, boasting a diversity that rivals that of wine in other countries.
Each region, city, and even some abbeys have their unique brews. Here are some of the most famous Belgian beers:
- Trappist Beers: Only 14 breweries in the world can produce official Trappist beers, and six of them are in Belgium. These beers are brewed within the walls of Trappist monasteries under the watchful eye of the monks. Each Trappist brewery has its unique style, but all create high-quality beers with a rich depth of flavor.
- Lambic Beers: Lambics are unique to the Pajottenland region of Belgium, where they are brewed using a spontaneous fermentation process. This method involves exposing the wort to wild yeasts, resulting in beers with complex, sour, and funky flavors. Gueuze and Kriek are two popular types of Lambic beers.
- Belgian Strong Ales: These beers are known for their high alcohol content and robust flavors. The category includes many styles, from the malty and slightly sweet Belgian Dubbel to the strong and complex Belgian Tripel.
Celebrated Belgian Liquors
Belgium’s alcoholic repertoire is not limited to beer. There are several traditional Belgian liquors that are also worth exploring:
Often described as the ancestor of gin, Jenever is a juniper-flavored spirit native to Belgium and the Netherlands. The Belgian variety tends to be more mellow and aromatic than its Dutch counterpart.
This herbal liqueur has been distilled in Antwerp since 1863. It’s made from 32 plants and herbs from around the world and is often served as a digestif.
Although this rich, creamy liqueur is more associated with the Netherlands, it’s also popular in Belgium. Advocaat is made from eggs, sugar, and brandy, and it can be enjoyed on its own or used as an ingredient in desserts or cocktails.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Belgium
Non-alcoholic beverages are an essential part of Belgian drink culture as well. Here are a couple of the country’s favorites:
- Hot Chocolate: Belgium is famous for its high-quality chocolate, so it’s no surprise that Belgian hot chocolate is a must-try. This soothing drink is often made with real chocolate, melted into hot milk for a rich and indulgent treat.
- Coffee: Belgians take their coffee seriously. From a classic espresso to a café liegeois (a dessert made from coffee and ice cream), there’s a coffee drink for every taste in Belgium.
Belgian Drinking Culture: A Tradition of Toasting and Tasting
Belgian drinking culture is an integral part of social life in Belgium, often revolving around the country’s diverse range of beers. Belgians are proud of their beer heritage, and visiting a traditional Belgian pub (known as a ‘brown café’ due to its wood-paneled interiors) is a quintessential Belgian experience. Here, friends gather to share stories, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company over a round of drinks.
Belgians appreciate quality over quantity when it comes to their alcoholic beverages. Beer tasting is a popular pastime, with Belgians savoring the rich flavors and aromas of their local brews. They often pair their beers with meals, similar to the wine and food pairing tradition in France and Italy.
More Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Belgium
In addition to hot chocolate and coffee, Belgium offers a variety of non-alcoholic beverages that cater to different tastes:
- Fruit Juices: Belgium’s fertile farmland yields a bounty of fresh fruits, which are turned into delicious juices. Apple juice, in particular, is very popular, often served fresh-pressed and unfiltered.
- Chicory Coffee: Chicory root has been used as a coffee substitute since the 19th century, and this tradition continues in Belgium. Chicory coffee has a slightly bitter taste, similar to coffee but with a unique flavor profile.
- Limonade: Belgian limonade is a refreshing, carbonated soft drink available in a variety of fruit flavors.
- Orgeade: This sweet and milky drink is made from barley and flavored with orange flower water. It’s a traditional Belgian beverage that’s particularly popular in the summertime.
The Popularity of Belgian Beers and Drinks Around the World
Belgian beers, known for their quality and diversity, have earned an international reputation. They are exported worldwide and enjoyed by beer enthusiasts in countries far beyond Belgium’s borders. Many beer styles, such as Belgian Tripel and Dubbel, have been adopted by breweries around the world.
Belgian spirits like Jenever and Elixir d’Anvers have also made their mark on the global stage, adding a uniquely Belgian flavor to the world’s liquor cabinets.
Even non-alcoholic Belgian beverages, such as Belgian hot chocolate, have gained international fame due to the country’s renowned chocolate-making tradition.
Belgium’s influence on the global drinks scene is a testament to its rich and diverse drink culture, proving that this small European country has much to offer to the world of beverages.
Where to Enjoy Belgian Drinks
Whether you’re in search of a traditional Belgian beer, a local spirit, or a non-alcoholic beverage, Belgium offers numerous spots where you can indulge in the country’s rich drink culture.
- Brussels: As the capital city, Brussels boasts a myriad of breweries, bars, and cafés where you can sample Belgian drinks. Visit Delirium Café, known for its Guinness World Record for the most varieties of beer commercially available.
- Antwerp: Known for its vibrant nightlife, Antwerp is another excellent city for drink enthusiasts. ‘t Waagstuk and Kulminator are popular spots for trying a vast selection of Belgian beers.
- Bruges: In this picturesque city, you can visit De Halve Maan Brewery for a guided tour and a taste of their famous Brugse Zot and Straffe Hendrik beers. Or stop by The Gulliver Tree for a cozy atmosphere and a delicious Belgian hot chocolate.
- Ghent: Ghent is home to numerous pubs and bars serving local beverages. Visit ‘t Dreupelkot to try an array of Jenever flavors.
- Liège: In Liège, don’t miss out on a visit to Brasserie C, where you can enjoy a local beer with a view of the city’s impressive staircase, Montagne de Bueren.
No matter where you go in Belgium, you’re likely to find a spot that serves a local brew or a traditional Belgian drink. Be sure to take the time to savor the experience, just as the Belgians do.
Final Thoughts on Belgian Drinks
Belgian drinks, whether it’s the country’s legendary beers, traditional liquors, or comforting non-alcoholic beverages, offer a unique taste of Belgium’s rich culture and history.
So, next time you find yourself in Belgium or at a Belgian-themed restaurant or bar, don’t miss out on experiencing these diverse and delightful drinks in Belgium.
About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.