The beer world is changing due in large part to the influence of Belgian Ales, and many Americans are taking notice. Beer is no longer merely the beverage that you find at the ballpark to be consumed out of a plastic cup, or at your local watering hole to be chugged from the bottle.
“These Belgian craft beers are kind of like the new wine for people. At white tablecloth restaurants, people can go in and for 20 bucks, get the best possible beer made in the world,” said Blake Andrews, President of Andrews Distributing in Texas. In fact many dark triple ales like Gulden Draak are nicknamed Barley Wine. This is great news for beer lovers who want to step up their game at a cocktail party or a high-end restaurant and don’t want to drink wine.
Belgian beers possess many of the characteristics that helped wine grow in popularity in the U.S. over the last two decades. They are brewed to be enjoyed slowly and thoroughly. They are second fermented in the bottle, allowing them to be aged for years. This bottle fermentation produces a natural carbonization giving the beer a velvet-like mouth feel. The beers are cork finished, are served in glasses specially designed for the beer style, and boast alcohol content two to three times that of the tradition American fizzy gold beer, making them improbable for the Budman to guzzle. Now that is not your everyday beer!
“In Belgium, we treat our beers just like we treat our women, very gently,” says Johnny Fincioen, Founder of the Global Beer Network in his expert video on how to pour a Belgian beer. Watch the clip here: http://tinyurl.com/yd834r8
Belgian Ales come in a variety of styles and complexities that make them pair extremely well with different types of dishes from stews, to seafood to desert. While the flavors are robust and complex the brews are also very quaffable. Belgian brewers pride themselves in producing Ales that are designed not to overwhelm the pallet with any one flavor. Instead they artistically balance their brew so that the drinking experience is pleasurable and the beer is easy to drink. Many of these Belgian families have been brewing beer for far longer than this country has been in existence, and when you work at a craft for centuries, you get pretty good at it.
Belgian beer is at the high end of the emerging specialty/craft segment of the American Beer industry. “The surging sector grossed $5.1 billion last year nationwide with sales increasing 15 percent over the previous year,” According to a report by Meredith Land an NBC Affiliate. Watch the NBC report at this link: http://tinyurl.com/yczfc42 .
The big American breweries are definitely taking notice of the Belgian Beer phenomenon. Many are now creating brands labeled “BELGIAN STYLE ALE” to capitalize on the reputation of the Belgian Family Brewers. Blue Moon (Coors) and Shock Top (Anheuser-Busch) are the two largest “Belgian Style” brews marketed, but many smaller brewers are also benefiting from the Belgian name. Brews such as Allagash, Ommegang, La Fin Du Monde and Fat Tire are also branded as “Belgian Style.” I guess that imitation is the largest form flattery. . .
For more information on Global Beer Network, please visit their website at globalbeer.com.
About Global Beer Network
Administrative offices located outside Boston. Global Beer Network is the leading Belgian Beer import company devoted to the Belgian Beer Culture. Santa Barbara is the headquarters and where Global Beer Network was founded in 1994. Global Beer is the ONLY import company in the USA exclusively selling Belgian beer and related items. Global Beer represents nine independent, family owned Belgian brewers producing a portfolio of 42 plus brands that we now sell in 45 U.S. states.
Global Beer Network is dedicated to the mission of educating the U.S. population. Global Beer produces a free bi-monthly newsletter, maintains an extensive and informative web site ( www.globalbeer.com ) manages an on-line retail shop, has produced videos on many of the brands, and regularly hosts beer-tastings and dinners.