Belgian and Continental Style Ales

bbey Ale - Monastic or abbey ales are an ancient tradition in Belgium. Currently, very few working monasteries brew beer within the order, but many have licensed the production of beers bearing their abbey name. These "abbey ales" can vary in specific character, but most are quite strong in alcoholic content.

Alt - An Altbier has the smoothness of a classic lager with the flavors of an ale. This style of ale is light to medium-bodied, less fruity, less yeasty, and has lower acidity than a traditional English ale.

Belgian Style Golden Ale - Belgian golden ales are pale to golden in color with a lightish body for their deceptive alcoholic punch. Typically, such brews undergo three fermentations, the final one being in the bottle, resulting in fine champagne-like carbonation and a huge white head.

Belgian Style Strong Ale - These beers generally pack a considerable alcohol punch. Expect a fruity yeast character and a degree of sweetness.

Belgian Style Red Ale - These are also known as 'soured beers'. Their defining character classically comes from having been aged in well-used large wooden tuns to allow bacterial action in the beer and thus impart the 'sour' character. Hops don't play much role in the flavor profile of these beers, but whole cherries can be macerated with the young beer to produce a cherry flavored Belgian Red Ale. These ales are among the most distinctive and refreshing to be found anywhere.

Belgian Style Amber Ale - This style includes various beers of a similar Belgian theme that don't fit into the more classic mold. They are amber-hued, fruity and moderately strong ales with a yeasty character.

Biere de Garde - This is a Flemish and northern French specialty ale generally packaged in 750ml bottles with a cork. Usually produced with a malt accent, this is a strong yet delicate bottle-conditioned beer. These brews tend to be very aromatic and are an excellent companion to hearty foods.

Classic Belgian Ale Styles - Sooner or later, all beer enthusiasts end up trying the ales of Belgium. Potently strong, generally packaged in odd shaped bottles, often with a cork and wire cage closure, they often involve every bit as much ceremony as one would lavish on opening a fine bottle of wine or smoking a fine cigar.

Flemish Style Brown Ale - These are complex dark beers with medium to full bodies that are influenced by a number of factors: high bicarbonate in the brewing water to give a frothy texture, a complex mix of yeasts and malts; blending of aged beers, and aging in bottle before release. The flavor profile can be reminiscent of olives, raisins, and brown spices.

Kolsch - Kolsch is an ale style emanating from Cologne in Germany. It has the color of a pilsner with some of the fruity character of an ale. This is achieved with the use of top fermenting yeasts and pale pilsner malts. The hops are accented on the finish, which classically is dry and herbal. It is a medium- to light-bodied beer.

Saison - These beers are distinctive specialty beers from the Belgian province of Hainuat. Originally brewed in the early spring for summer consumption, they are now brewed all year round with pale malts and well dosed with English and Belgian hop varieties. The color is golden orange and the flavors are tinged with citrus and fruity hop overtones.

Trappist Ale - True trappist ale may only come from six abbeys of the trappist order that still brew beer on their premises. Five are in Belgium and one in France. Although the styles may differ, they all share a common trait of being top fermented, strong, bottle-conditioned, complex, and fully flavored brews. Trappist ales are among the most complex and old fashioned of beers that one can find.