Belgian Flavors

Juicy, yeasty, hoppy, and potent--an exemplary Belgian strong ale--but with a pale hue, brilliant white head, and crispness that make it seem lighter than it is.Todd Coleman

Belgian ales are full flavored and complex. Rich, dark dubbels, or "doubles," are named for their copious malts, which lend them potency. Even stronger are golden tripels. Like dubbels, these are abbey beers, originally brewed by monks. On the bitter side are Belgian strong ales, potent versions of hoppy pale ales. Flanders' wine-like, sour red ales are cask-aged. So are Brussels' tart, funky lambics, and blended lambics, called gueuzes, fermented with wild yeasts they contain wheat and malted barley. Wheat is also used in witbier, or white beer, a light, often spiced, brew. Wallonia's dry, fruity saisons are named after the French word for "season," a reference to the winter brewing and summer imbibing of these farmhouse ales.