Why is Belgian beer unique in the world ?

Belgian beer is among the most varied and numerous collections of beer in the world. Belgian beer-brewing's origins go back to the Middle-Ages, when monasteries began producing beers. Belgian beer production was assisted by the 1919 Belgian " Vandervelde Act", that prohibited the sale of spirits in pubs, inducing the market to produce beers with a higher level of alcohol. The Vandervelde Act was lifted in 1983.

High esteem of Belgian beer is supported by beer experts such as Michael Jackson. Although beer production in Belgium is now dominated by Inbev and Alken-Maes, there remain 125 breweries  in the country, producing about 500 standard beers. When special one-off beer styles are included, the total number of types of Belgian beer exceeds 1000.

Belgium is to beer what France is to wine. While France has its wine regions, Belgium has its local beer styles.In no other part of the world is beer brewed using four different fermentation methods:

    • Spontaneous fermentation
      (the Lambic, gueuze and fruit beers)
    • Mixed fermentation
      (brown-red bitter beers of Southern Flanders)
    • Top fermentation
      (Brabant specials, Trappist beers, abbey beers, white beers, city and regional beers)
    • Bottom fermentation
  • The Belgian Trappists are the only brewers brewing within the walls of a monastery.
  • Only in Belgium is beer conditioned in oak barrels like wine.

Registred emblem of the union of Belgium breweriesThe collective, internationally registered emblem of the union of Belgium breweries guarantees that the designation BELGIAN BEER stands for:

a beer brewed by an excisable brewery situated in Belgium, or  a beer brewed by a foreign brewery which has gained a licence for the beer from a excisable Belgian brewery who brews this beer in Belgium, or a beer brewed by a branch of an excisable brewery located and brewing this beer in Belgium.

The designation BELGIAN STYLE: imitation beers which are NOT brewed by breweries situated in Belgium but are inspired by existing Belgian beer varieties.