A good beer is made even better when paired with the perfect food, and this is undoubtedly true for Belgian beer. Belgian beers are a unique style of ale that many enjoy around the world. But their distinct flavor leaves some wondering what kind of food will accompany this beer perfectly.
In general, Belgian beers with sweet notes or tastes of fruit will pair better with light, white meats or meals rich in spices. Heavier and stronger Belgian ales will pair well with traditional, savory meals and even desserts.
The ideal food pairing for a Belgian beer will depend largely on what style of Belgian beer it is.
Food pairings for beer may seem like an art, but it does not have to be a daunting process. Learning about the basic rules to follow will help you choose the perfect meal to go with your beer. Keep reading to learn more about the different styles of Belgian beers and what food goes well with them.
Pairing Food With Belgian Beer
Choosing the proper meal to go with your beer ultimately comes down to the flavor notes in your beer. Although Belgian beer is a very popular type of beer, there are many styles that each have their distinct flavors within this category. Before choosing a food, you must first consider what style of Belgian beer you are drinking.
Styles of Belgian Beer
The following are some of the most common styles of Belgian beer. These are very popular and can be found in pubs and grocery stores around the world.
- Belgian Pale Ale: This light-colored beer is known to have a slightly bitter taste with notes of fruit and spices.
- Blonde Ale: The lightest of Belgian beers, a blonde ale will have a crisp, fresh taste with a clean, malty flavor that is high in hops and may have undertones of fruit.
- Belgian Dark Ale: This is the darkest of Belgian beers and also typically the least bitter. A Belgian dark ale will have strong notes of fruit, and many breweries created spiced versions for the Christmas holiday season.
- Dubbel Ale: With an amber color and a sweet, caramel flavor, this beer is very popular among people worldwide.
- Tripel Ale: Similar to the Dubbel, a Tripel Ale has a sweet flavor body. However, it is slightly more bitter, lighter in color, and is often a bit stronger.
- Quadrupel Ale: This is the strongest when measured against Dubbels and Tripels because it contains even more malt. This beer will be flavorful and often a little bitter, and have high alcohol content.
Although there are countless varieties of Belgian beers, these styles are often the most popular, and their distinctive flavor will help you decide what food can best be paired with them.
What Makes Belgian Beer Special for Food Pairings?
You may be wondering what all of the fuss surrounding Belgian Beer is about. Belgium has a rich heritage of brewing excellent beers, and from this, a tradition of ales has arisen that are as diverse as they are high-quality.
Many choose to drink Belgian beers because of their range of flavors and pleasant aromas. With a dedication to craft and tradition, Belgian breweries are known to be unparalleled in their ability to create top-notch beer.
The Best Foods for Your Style of Belgian Beer
The perfect meal for your Belgian beer is not a one-size-fits-all process. You will need to carefully consider the style and flavors of the beer you are drinking before starting to cook or ordering that entree.
Belgian Pale Ales and Blonde Ales
If a Belgian Pale Ale or Blonde Ale is on the menu tonight, you will likely want to experiment with spiced and flavorful foods, like barbecued meats or chicken. In general, a light-colored Belgian ale will go well with a dish intended for the main course, and the versatility of this beer means it can accompany many different spices easily.
Belgian Dark Ale
This type of beer goes best with many classic, savory dishes. The following are all meals that can go well with a dark ale:
- Pasta dishes and lasagnas with meat sauce
- Spiced meat-based dishes, such as lamb
- A traditional stew
- Game meats, such as duck or goose
Additionally, you can even pair a Belgian dark ale with strong notes of fruit or roasted tones with spiced desserts, such as glazed fruits or almond and chocolate-based sweets.
Dubbels, Tripels, and Quadrupels
This family of Belgian beer may sound alike, but they all have their distinctive pairing recommendations:
- Dubbel: The sweet, light flavors in a Dubbel make it a perfect choice to accompany sausage and rich, smoked meats.
- Tripel: A Tripel’s best friend is cheese, and you will not go amiss pairing this style of Belgian ale with a cheese platter or charcuterie selection.
- Quadrupel: The intense flavors in a Quadrupel make it a great choice as a dessert beer. Pairing this beer with bread pudding or another similarly rich and flavorful sweet is sure to be a hit at your dinner table.
These three iconic styles of Belgian beer will allow for a delightful range of dinnertime food pairings.
Whether you’re a seasoned beer enthusiast or new to the world of ales, Belgian beer is sure to impress you with its reputation for flavor and craft. Amid all of the distinct styles and flavors in the Belgian beer repertoire, it may seem like a challenge to choose the perfect meal.
Pairing food with your Belgian beer comes down to the flavor notes present in your beer. For lighter beers, you may choose to pair richer, smoked meat or something with an impressive body of distinctive spices. Heavier ales will depend on their flavors, as desserts and savory dishes may be equally fitting.
Picking the right meal for your beer is essentially a question of preference. Although these tried and tested guidelines will give you a good place to start, you may need to experiment with different recipes before finding the food that can do justice to your perfect Belgian beer.