The Good Beer Guide to Belgium by Tim Webb & Joe Strange is now in it’s 7th edition. For more than 20 years, The Good Beer Guide to Belgium has been the go-to reference. I tested this revised and updated version and it passed with flying colors.
I have a well used and notated copy of the 2008 edition (signed by the author no less!) that served me well on 4 different beer pilgrimages to Belgium. You can read about my latest trip hunting beer in Brussels here.
The variety and quality of Belgian beer inspired the American craft brewing revolution. Germany has it’s place in brewing history, but it’s Belgium beer that most touches the heart and taste buds of beer nuts everywhere.
The Guide begins with a little history, food pairing, the beer making process, and Belgian beer types. Never dry, though occasionally a touch cynical, it includes recommendations and star ratings to help the reader sort out where to spend their time, money, and units of alcohol.
The main section is a listing of most of the independent breweries with a quick description, contact details, a rating of the brewery, and a list of their main beers with star ratings. I found these ratings to be particularly helpful when faced with a shelf or beer list of 100 beers and wanting to not have to taste through 3 or 4 “good” ones to find a superior one.
Top recommended breweries include: Cantillion, De Ranke, Drie Fonteinen, Rochefort, Rulles, and Senne. Your favorite brewery – Strusse, De Dolle, Westvleteren – most likely received a 4-star recommendation.
The next section is where to find the best Belgian beer. It’s surprisingly difficult to stumble upon a huge selection of beers either in a bar or bottle shop, even in Belgium. The Guide offers suggestions for every region and many cities. There are maps, full-color photos, and of course recommendations. It includes:
- Over 900 beers from more than 200 breweries.
- 530 hand-picked cafés, bards, beer shops.
- The best festivals, brewery tours and museums of brewing.
Fortunately, more and more Belgian beer is exported around the globe, making it easier to get our hands on many listed in the Guide. But there’s nothing like visiting Belgium yourself. I have traveled with empty boxes and bubble-wrap in my suitcase to carry back treasures to cellar and enjoy for years to come.
Question: What are some of your favorite Belgian beers? You can leave a comment by clicking here.