Feeling parched? Don't fret. When you're travelling in Belgium, you're never too far from a refreshing beverage. If you love beer, you'll probably already know that Belgium produces some of the world's best beer. The choice of ales on offer can be overwhelming (in the best possible way!). But it's not all about beer. From juniper-flavoured liquor to tasty Black Russians, here are some classic beverages to try when you're visiting Belgium.
Duvel is one of Belgium's most popular pale ales produced by Duvel Moortgat Brewery. The original Duvel is brewed using Scottish yeast, Saaz and Styrian Golding hops, although there are now several other varieties to try. Duvel was originally called Victory Ale, but was later changed to 'Duvel' after comments were made about the beer being nen echten duvel, or 'a devil', due to its high alcohol content. At 8.5% ABV, you might want to go easy!
Witbier is one of Belgium's oldest and most famous beers, however it dropped off the radar for a while and only became popular again in the 1960s thanks to a brewer named Pierre Celis from Hoegaarden. This unfiltered, smooth and cloudy ale is typically brewed with unmalted wheat and flavoured with citrus and earthy herbs spices such as coriander. Unlike other wheat beers, the hop profile in witbier is almost non-existent and is instead replaced with a wonderfully malty taste.
3. Black Russian
Don't let the name fool you. This classic cocktail was actually created by the bartender, Gustav Tops in Brussels in 1949 as a signature drink for Perle Mesta, who had recently become US Ambassador to Luxembourg. The drink is traditionally made by shaking vodka and coffee liqueur and is served on the rocks. The bartender called it a 'Black Russian' because vodka is a popular spirit in Russia.
4. Kriek lambic
Calling all sour beer fans. Kriek lambic is a Belgian fruit beer made with Belgian Schaarbeekse cherries (a rare Morello variety). The traditional way of making it involves adding whole, crushed or macerated cherries (with the pits) to an aged lambic beer base and allowing the beer to mature for several months before bottling it. The nature of this brewing process means each batch of kriek lambic is different, which definitely keeps the drink exciting!
If you like gin, chances are you'll like jenever. Unlike gin which can be distilled using a number of raw materials, this unique Belgian spirit is made by distilling grains such as corn, malted barley or rye. The alcohol is then flavoured with juniper berries and various other herbs and spices. You can add jenever to other drinks as a cocktail, or drink it over ice with a dash of sugar syrup and bitters.
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