24 October 2011

Belgian Beer, or Why I'm Not Drinking Enough Of It

I don't drink enough Belgian beer these days.

It's regrettable but true, and I can think of two main reasons why it's happened to me:

  1. Like all Indy craft beer drinkers, I've moved WAY local with my craft beer consumption. At best, local beer might have been 10% of the beer I consumed 5 years ago; today it's probably more than 50%. You certainly can't beat fresh, local beer, but there's a hidden snag in our Buy Local stampede around Indy: hardly anyone is producing Belgian beers, and the one that does, Brugge, doesn't sell a take-home format of their beer these days. 
  2. Belgian beer is generally more expensive and often comes with a higher alcohol content. Those two factors combine to make me purchase it and drink it less frequently. Much as a LOVE the style, I simply don't have as many occasions to drink a 9 to 10% tripel as I do a 5.5% pale ale. 
There's not a small amount of brewmaster skill in producing great Belgian beer (some rightfully call it an art) and a lot of the best of the best has to come across the Atlantic, so I can see the reasons for the price point.  But that last point has got me thinking: why are Belgian beers generally so high abv?   But why aren't more breweries making 5-6% Belgian beers? Sure there's witbier, but winter's just around the bend folks.  Where's a great six pack of everyday-drinkin', 6% abv dubbel that I can crack when I get home from work in the dead of winter?

Does anybody have any thoughts on why more Belgian beer isn't being brewed in Indy?  Do you wish more breweries focused on (or at least dabbled in) those styles?  Is anybody else with me, wishing that there were more easy-drinking Belgian beers available in the Indy market?


  1. What happened to the Terre Haute Brugge brewing facility? Anything? From your post it sounded like they weren't distributing any more...I probably wouldn't buy their beer at the liquor store as a result of personal preference, but it sounded like I should know!

  2. Wouldn't a number of the beers produced at Bier qualify as Belgian / quasi-Belgian?

    I've frankly not developed a taste for Belgian brews--- the spice and fruit characters (that I attribute) to the yeasts rarely do it for me. That being said, if I've learned anything... it is that my tastes will probably change and eventually I'll be overly interested.

  3. Brugge does still get kegs out to select restaurants but I just mean they aren't putting out bottles anymore and haven't ever done growler fills. With the youngin', I tend to drink at home these days.

    And yes, Tom, I think Bier is another one that does a pretty good job mixing up their production with Belgian styles. They brew such a wide variety of beer styles it would be amazing if they didn't!

  4. I think the craft beer scene is still riding the Hop wave. Still seeing a lot of super hop beers being really popular and seems like the spice and floral character of Belgian beers dont fit that trend. Give it time and maybe we will all be waiting for the next Saison releases.

    Bier does usually always have a Belgian in their line up.