Belgian beer – in a class of its own

Belgian beer is one of the finer pleasures in life. It is unique and special in every way, so much so that now it is recognised by UNESCO as part of the cultural heritage of the world. These beers are treated with great fondness and respect and even have their own customised glassware.

Belgian beer needs its own glasses to be most appreciated

Special glassware enhances the value of Belgian beer

The Belgians are so proud of their fine beer that they have a whole range of specialised glasses to serve the different varieties of Belgian Beer. Most bars, in fact, have a specific kind of glass for specific beers and bar tenders will even apologise if the specific glass is unavailable. The most common is the tulip glass which traps the aroma of the drink, while the lip around the edge retains the large bubbles for longer, making it both a visual and olfactory experience. Belgian lambic beers and fruit beers are served in glasses similar to champagne flutes. The long narrow glasses beautifully show off the colour, carbonisation and soft lacing of bubbles. The narrow top also beautifully intensifies the aroma of these beers. Large glasses shaped like bowls with stems, similar in appearance to goblets or chalices, are a perfect choice for Abbey and Trappist beers. Goblets have a thinner and lighter glass than chalices and some chalices have etchings to maintain the head for longer. Some Belgian beer brands even have their own ‘house glassware’ such as La Lunette.
Belgian beer honoured by UNESCO. Much more than just a drink

Belgian beer honoured by UNESCO

UNESCO has bestowed a great honour on Belgian beer by proposing to add it to their list of Intangible Cultural Heritages Of Humanity. Sven Gatz, the former head of the Belgian Brewers’ Association and the Culture Minister for the northern regions of Flanders likened the move to winning the football World Cup. Gatz says, “We love our beer and appreciate the endless diversity within it, something that can’t be equaled anywhere else in the world. In Belgium, beer doesn’t have to give way to wine or other drinks in terms of quality and diversity.” Belgian beer has won international acclaim for its wide range of tastes from very sour to very bitter and everything in between. It is brewed across the Western European country, in many different cities. The history of beer in Belgium dates back to the time of the medieval monks and has been celebrated in art and songs. It is also used in cooking and even in making cheese. According to UNESCO, beer in Belgium is more than just an alcoholic beverage.