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Saison Beers

Saison beers from the provinces of Hainaut, Namur and Waloon Brabant, and Lambiek beers from Brussels are more secular and served a different purpose. Saisons or season beers were brewed in one season, autumn or winter, to be ready for the harvest in late summer. Not only did these beers have to be thirst quenching and flavoursome, they also had to be of good quality as the farm workers had the right to 8 pints a day during work. As with many beers from the Walloon region, the farmer-brewer looked around for what was plentiful and the use of different herbs and spices is very common. These amber blond beers, like Saison 1900 from Brasserie Lefebvre and Saison Regal from du Bocq, have a distinctive, refreshing, hoppy dryness and a gorgeous, spicy finish, which can stand next to many exotic dishes. La Chouffe is a unique beer from the Ardennes region - Province of Belgian Luxembourg, which takes you right into the forest, with a pine tree smell, and lemony, fruity flavour mixed with a subtle herbal, hoppy, dry finish. Named after the local gnomes, who lived underground and are allergic to the modern pollution and keep sneezing ‘Achouffe’ …bless you!

The Lambiek beers from Brussels, which are naturally or spontaneously fermented and oak-matured through the use of friendly bacteria, are probably still the oldest way of making beer in the world. By blending a young Lambiek beer, which is one year old, with a 2 and 3 year old one, the brewers create a Geuze beer, which has a unique cider-like oaky tartness. Most of these beers are bottled in corked champagne bottles, as they can be stored like wine for longer time.

Belle Vue and Cantillon are good examples. With Lambiek one can also make the world famous Kriek (Cherry) and Framboise (Raspberry) beers, which are created by adding the whole fruit in the oak casks to the Lambiek beer around 6 – 8 months, so they referment with the natural sugars of the fruit.

Belle Vue Kriek and Framboise, also known as the pink champagne of beers are the more sweeter version, while Cantillon still makes the more traditional, more tart Lambiek fruit beers. What better drink, which is on par with pink champagne, can help you take in the sights and scenes of the Grand Place, whilst enjoying local delicacies? Even beer with chocolate is a must! These are just a few examples of what the Walloon and Brussels beer landscape has to offer as a platform for this undiscovered part of Belgium.

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Belgian Tourist Office Wallonia 217 Marsh Wall London E14 9FJ Tel: 0207 531 0390 info@belgiumtheplaceto.be