Light Taste with a Special Twist
The term Belgian Abbey beer was first used to refer to beers used and produced in monasteries. However, after the International Trappist Association imposed the use of Trappist beers which are liquors produced by monasteries to help support their operations, abbey beers were later described as any beer or liquor that has a similar style and recipe as Trappist beers. Nowadays, Belgian Abbey beers are drinks that are brewed by commercial breweries but are using the recipes and names of abbeys that have stopped their brewing operations.
In 1999, the Union of Belgian Brewers released a logo bearing the “Certified Belgian Abbey Beer” sign to separate the real brewers who function under the license of real monasteries from brewers who are just marketing their products as Abbey beers for other religious links. Beers bearing this logo come from breweries with a part of their operations being managed by monks. A portion of their profit also goes to the charities being supported by the monasteries they are connected to.
Just like Trappist beers, however, the term Abbey beer is simply a designation of the origin of the beer and does not refer to a single type and taste only. It has two varieties namely the Tripel and Dubbel which differ in strength level. Tripels or blonds are the type of beers that are brewed with three times the normal quantity of malt used
in creating average brews. Candi sugar is also added during the brewing. In addition to this, the beer is also unfiltered and processed to undergo a third fermentation in the bottle. Dubbels, on the other hand, are much milder than the Tripels because they only have twice the normal quantity of malt added to it. Along with the candi sugar, some spices are also added to its brewing process.
An example of a certified popular Abbey beer is Bornem which is best known for its rich aroma and malt taste. Fruity base hints of pear, apple cider, banana, and apple juice also mix perfectly with its maple syrup and caramel flavor. Due to its light and fruity taste, this is a favorite drink to be taken together with cheese, meat, and beef.
Another popular brand is Tongerlo which has a light and fruity taste. Despite its mild taste, however, this beer still has a rich arsenal of flavors complimented perfectly by its warm gold color and the delicious foam it produces when poured in glass. Its taste is best described as malty with flavors of citrus, honey, and orange peels.
Ename is another one of a kind Abbey beer popular for its grapefruit, apple, and honey flavors. It has a light and golden color and gives a powdery but smooth finish. Its light taste is best complimented by Mediterranean cuisines, cheese, pork, and poultry. If you want something different from the usual malt and light fruity flavors, however, a good abbey beer to try is the Postel which is a little spicy but has a floral bitterness at the end.