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Belgian Specialty Ale Reviews

Despite the number of Belgian styles that exist, there remains a slew of brews that don’t fit neatly into a single category. For these unusual crafts, the Belgian specialty ale designation is a catch-all, where everything from unofficial styles like “Belgian IPAs” to “Trappist quadrupels” find a home. The more creative, quaffable and true to the brewer’s intent these beers are, the better. Beyond that, there aren’t too many rules: These unique ales can be pale gold to very dark, and their flavors and scents range from light malt and low bitterness to richly sweet with a big, hoppy bite. Additional ingredients like honey and spice are welcome, and the fabled Brettanomyces yeast often makes a puckering appearance.

Pair: The flavor nuances of these specialty ales vary, so pair one with a wide-ranging cheese plate—pile up everything from gorgonzola to gouda to triple-crème—and stick with whatever you like best.

Glassware: tulip, snifter or pint glass, depending on style


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