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THE BELGIAN BEER SHOP
providing a taste of Belgium to the Maltese Islands
What does Trappist mean when on the label of a beer?
It means that the beer has been brewed at a brewery that is part of a monastery and that monks residing at that monastery at the very least supervise the brewing process but more often do far more than that. However there may be lay persons involved too. To use the word Trappist the monastery must be a member of the International Trappist Association. Of of all the breweries in the world, only eleven may use the name “Trappist”: And these are Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren and Westmalle in Belgium, Konningshoeven (La Trappe) and Zundert in the Netherlands, Stift Engelszell in Austria, Spencer in the USA and Tre Fontane in Italy. For more information check out the associations website
Do you sell Trappist beers?
Yes we have beers from Achel,Chimay, Rochefort, Westmalle and La Trappe
Do you sell Westveleten beers?
No. It is only possible to purchase their beers by ordering on line and collecting from the Abbey on the prescribed date and you can only buy in very small quantities and there rare strict rules regarding re-orders
What is Abbey beer?
Many other Abbeys used to brew beer to sell to help with the upkeep of the abbey. Most have ceased to brew but many have made licensing arrangements with commercial breweries whereby the commercial brewery would brew and market the beer using the abbeys name and the abbey would receive royalties. The most valuable arrangement must have been that between the Leffe monastery and a small local brewery, long since closed, that eventually resulted in AB Inbev, the worlds biggest brewer, brewing and marketing Leffe beers
Do you sell Leffe beers?
No but We offer "Abbey" style blond and brown ale for both home delivery and for trade customers from 2 independent Belgian breweries. So if you like Leffe Brune/Bruin Bornem Dubbel and Maredsous 8 which are the same Belgian beer style as Leffe Brune/Bruin - although they are a little stronger than Leffe Bruin/Brune - at 7% and 8% rather than 6.5%. And we have 3 Trappist beers of that style (Westmalle Dubbel, Chimay Red, nd Rochefort 6). If Leffe Blonde (6.5%)is your preference we have Augustijn Blond (7%), Bornem Blond (6%) and Maredsous 6 (Moortgat Duvel's Blonde at 6%) and Trappist Blonds from Achel and La Trappe.
Do you sell Hoegaarden?
No but we have Celis White/Wit/Blanche brewed by Van Steenberge under licence from Peter Celis the man who created Hoegaarden before selling it to InBev. And we also have Vedett Extra White from Duvel Moortgat and La Trappe White
Do you sell Lager?
Yes but only an organic, gluten-free, and Fairtrade lager one -the brand is Mongozo
What is the difference between Lager and Ale?
Simply lager is brewed using a yeast that sits at the bottom of the fermenter, whilst ale uses yeast that sits on the surface of the fermenting liquor. Lager is usually pasturised whilst many ales undergo further fermrentation right upto when it arrives in your glass
Can you get unpasturised beer in kegs or cans?
Yes, but only in the last few years. And some of our customers have draught La Chouffe, from a modern keykeg
Why is your beer more expensive than imported lager?
Because lagers tend to be much cheaper to produce and because there are so many of them tasting so similar, the competition is cut-throat. And most of that lager comes in cans which also saves money costing less to use than bottles do
Secondly most of our beers are craft products that take longer to produce and use more quality expensive ingredients
And finally because we import small quantities, each of our beers cost more to transport here
so what are the extra costs of bringing bottles rather than cans?
We have to pay a 20c deposit to the brewery on each bottle (refundable only if we paid a shipper to take the empties back). We also pay around 5 cents per bottle for its recycling after use. That 25 cents per bottle
Why cant I buy your beer in cans?
our brewery suppliers do not use cans.
how should I store the beers?
All should be stored upright so that the yeast sediment in the bottles remains undisturbed at the bottom.
Wheat beer must be kept in a fridge before drinking. Blond and Amber beers should be kept in a fridge before drinking.
Dark and Fruit Beers should be kept in a COOL 'pantry' or fridge before drinking.
how should I pour the beers?
The custom with Wheat Beer is to empty the bottle into the glass, including the sediment. It will be cloudy. It is intended to be.
With other Belgian ales there is some disagreement but the norm is to pour the contents slowly down the side of a glass, to get a reasonable head, but leave the last couple of millimetres in the bottle so not adding the sediment to produce a clear beer.
how long do the beers keep?
Our wheat beers have a best before date 18 months after bottling. For most of our Van Steenberge and Duvel Moortgat beers its 2 years. Whilst for the Trappist beers it is upto 5 years and for Liefmanns Cuvee Brut and Goudenband it is 10 years. And unlike the meesage given in the advertising from a major lager brand, all these beers mature during their life and over time can improve in flavour due to the secondary fermentation in the bottle
can I drink the beer straight from the bottle?
We do not recommend it. These are living beers, with a sediment of yeast. continually upending the bottle can cause severe frothing and will disturb the yeast making the beer cloudy
What is "Craft Beer"?
There is no defination. It may mean different things to different brewers. The intention is to suggest some or all of the following - that more time and skill goes into brewing it - that it has more taste - that it was brewed in a small brewery - that it contains only natural ingredients - that it contains better quality ingredients. But even the worlds biggest lager brewers may use the term on ales they produce. The term is rarely used to described lager but it could.
What is IPA?
IPA stands for India Pale Ale and WAS English ale shipped from England to India during the days of the Empire. Extra hops were added to help preserve the beer during the long journey. So the beers tasted HOPPY. By the mid 20th century the style had virtually died in England. The style was reinvented by small Craft Brewers in the USA, some producing hugely hoppy beers using very aromatic hops. Other brewers are now producing the style as the love of hops grows.
Do you have IPAs?
Yes. Duvel Moorgat who own 3 microbreweries in the USA have a number of these in their range and one of which we import.Starting with the mildest and through to the most intensely hopped we have Vedett IPA. Houblon (Hop in French) Chouffe, Duvel Tripel Hop, and from one of their US breweries, Boulevard Single Wide.Van Steenberge have Piraat Tripel Hop
Why does Belgium have such a wide range of beer styles , and particularly strong beers?
There are a number of reasons. Firstly like in most places, im the midlle ages drinking beer was was safer than drinking water, and monasteries, of which Belgium had many, brewed beers for their villagers to drink instead of water. Secondly, Belgium has no Wine industry, Thirdly upto the early 1980s bars and restaurants needed a special license to sell spirits. So with only imported wine and spirits not generally available, there was a "need" for stronger beer.