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5 Great Belgian Ale Styles

Belgian beers have a terrific range of flavors. Here, five excellent styles.

Belgian Ale Styles:


Soft, rounded and malty, these dark ales tend to pair well with earthy flavors like mushrooms, roast pork and poultry.

Flemish Red Ales

These wood-aged beers are often bracingly tart. Bacteria in the wood, like brettanomyces—"which winemakers hate," says Sang Yoon—create a bright cherry sourness that's great with succulent pork and duck.


These rustic brews are subtly spiced with botanicals like coriander or orange peel. The grassy, earthy flavors work well with green vegetables.

Trappist Ales

Also called abbey-style ales, "these are the big red wines of Belgian ales," Yoon says. Usually dark, caramelly and nutty, they're delicious with roast lamb and cheese.


Tripels are often brewed with spices like mustard seed. Lightly golden and frothy, they're perfect with spicy food. "They make great fire extinguishers," says Yoon.

More Beer Tips:

Published February 2010
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