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Belgian Beer ...

PaulF May 21, 2007 11:37 AM

I'm taking some baby steps towards exploring Belgian beer.

Whenver I drink in the Daily Pint I order Chimay. But, admittedly, that's not all that often.

Then, the other day I went out looking for some PIlsner Urquell (a longshot in my neighborhood liquor store where imported means from Mexico -- which is not a bad thing to this Modelo drinker) and while they had no PUrq, they had a sixer of Stella Artois. (FYI - It was nine bucks for six bottles.)

Which was.is delicious and in a different way than Chimay.

So, I've done a tiny bit of online research and sure enough, the Belgians have an excellent beer repuation. I'm two for two in loving them

My questions:

Are there bars have a great selection of Belgian beers?

Are there any liquor stores where nice imports from Belgium are discounted?

What other Belgian beers do Chowhounders recommend?

Is there such a thing as Belgian cuisine in Los Angeles -- a Belgian restaurant (that doesn't just server waffles)?

P.S. - I've read the Wikipedia entry on Belgian beer ... but I want Chowhound advice, not encyclopedia advice.

Thanks!!!

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  1. d
    Diana RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 11:38 AM

    Reply

    1. d
      Diana RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 11:38 AM

      Ahh, there we go, you went back in and added the message!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Diana
        c
        carter RE: Diana May 21, 2007 01:47 PM

        For those interested in Belgian beeers in Sherman Oaks, Boneyard Bistro has a nice selection of them, and in fact, Monday night is beer night with specials, etc. and Aaron even has some on tap.

      2. PaulF RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 11:46 AM

        DAMN ... I didn't see this thread:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/335458

        I feel kind of lame ...

        2 Replies
        1. re: PaulF
          k
          kevin RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 12:27 PM

          the stuffed sandwich in san gabriel very good, over 100 bottled and right now, it's actually belgian beef month on tap (month of may).

          closed on sundays and mondays, thoiugh.

          1. re: kevin
            b
            bulavinaka RE: kevin May 21, 2007 02:06 PM

            Forgot about another recent thread under "Beer" that has some great info... some of these posters are walking brewing encyclopedias...in a good way...

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/401086

        2. b
          bulavinaka RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 01:05 PM

          Hey Ladies' Man! ;) You found a good thread, and there's tons of others when you do a word search on this site...

          With the growing popularity of Belgian brews, more places are carrying the more common ones like Chimay and Duvel. As much as I like Stellar Artois for what it is, I don't consider it the type of Belgian beer that most have come to identify with this category. I'm in the same fish bowl as you - a growing Belgian beer guppy. I've been drinking Belgians for about four years now and started out slow. But now I'm drinking almost nothing but Belgians. Aside from my second favorite, hefs, or an occasional import or craft, I seem to always gravitate back to the Belgians. Belgians just have everything that I look for in a good brew. Lambics, a totally different category IMHO, are worth seeking out as well, but stay away from the stuff at TJ's. That brand tastes more like a shandy - very sweet and fruity - seriously like a teenager's drink.

          I'm lucky in that I'm five minutes from Beverage Warehouse which has a pretty decent selection of Belgians and Belgian-styles in their store. I never counted but I try a few different ones each time I go there (about once every month), and I feel I'm making very slow progress in getting to the end of their selection. I recently had a nice Petrus Winter, which was nice, red, caramel-like and smooooooth... the box included a nice beer glass to boot. I'd rather have more beer instead, but I'll take the glass as concession...

          It sounds like Lucky Baldwin's is the Holy Grail of truly great Belgians and a broad selection to boot. They have a Belgian beer fest there annually if that says anything. I'm one who sticks close to the Westside for the most part, so a trip out there will have to wait for the right time and occasion, but it's tops on my list - even above the great Chinese they have out that way.

          Beeradvocate.com has alot of active blogging going on - you may consider them as a good source as well... At the same time, you may get a little disappointed in that when I was actively using their site, there seemed to be alot of apparently nice brews that are regional outside of LA, which makes casual tastings of alot of those mentioned out of the question. Still, this site is a great source of information. There are some serious beer-heads active on this site.

          Keep this thread active - let us know what you've liked! And no crushes on the barmaids - your gal at Tacomiendo will turn green with envy. >;-}

          4 Replies
          1. re: bulavinaka
            d
            Diana RE: bulavinaka May 21, 2007 01:22 PM

            Stella is Czeck, bot Belgian.

            Some lambics are dry, some super sweet. The belgians like it all. I love a good Kriek or Framboise, or Pomme.
            Look for Rodenbach for a nice brewery.
            Try Mc G's in Chatsworth and Lucky Bladwin's in Pasadena (beware the dirty beer lines!)

            1. re: Diana
              PaulF RE: Diana May 21, 2007 01:33 PM

              Stella is Belgian, PUrq is Czech.

              1. re: Diana
                b
                bulavinaka RE: Diana May 21, 2007 01:46 PM

                I think you're referring to the beer that PaulF mentions - Pilsner Urquell. The last time I czeched, both the bottle and their website, Stella Artois is as Belgian as moules et frites (Mussels and fries)... but I do share the same love for these brews as you, but I unlike me, a guppy, your more like a bold salmon, swimming up a stream pouring with Belgian brews. :)

                http://www.stellaartois.com/

              2. re: bulavinaka
                PaulF RE: bulavinaka May 21, 2007 01:38 PM

                LOL --

                I've never even been to Beverage Warehouse, but it's like five minutes from my house, it's sort of behind Ronnie's Diner on Culver (which is one of my fave spots).

              3. p
                piferoen RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 01:16 PM

                There are more then 600 kinds of Belgian beers, so plenty of time to taste them all
                as a Belgian living in MD. I'm able to find my faverd onces
                Duvel/ Rodenbach/Orval/ Munk beer from West Vleteren and Corsendonck

                1. Chinon00 RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 01:24 PM

                  PIlsner Urquell is a fine beer but it is not Belgian

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Chinon00
                    PaulF RE: Chinon00 May 21, 2007 01:31 PM

                    It's Czech ... I know that ... I just happened to be looking for it when I stumbled on the Stella.

                    1. re: PaulF
                      Chinon00 RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 02:06 PM

                      Ok. Stella I find pleasant but nothing that different from standard international light lagers (e.g. Heineken). And if anything defines Belgian beer it is its dense variety as a result of their uncommon use of ingredients and wild yeast. One that I love which took a while was Gueze. Sort of like a mouth-puckering sparkling wine.

                      1. re: Chinon00
                        a_and_w RE: Chinon00 May 21, 2007 02:27 PM

                        Agreed -- Stella ain't bad but it's more a triumph of marketing than anything else. Sort of what Blue Moon is to Belgian whites...

                        1. re: a_and_w
                          PaulF RE: a_and_w May 21, 2007 02:29 PM

                          Honestly, Bill's Liquor on Culver is not a bastion of great beer choices.

                          I picked it because it was available.

                          I thought it was fine, but agree it is sort of like a Heineken.

                  2. a_and_w RE: PaulF May 21, 2007 01:25 PM

                    I'm partial to Blanche de Namer and Allagash white. Also, any recs on places with really good Belgian frites?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: a_and_w
                      s
                      StockClerk RE: a_and_w May 21, 2007 04:18 PM

                      PaulF,

                      A "Belgian-style" I recommend is La Fin Du Monde, from Unibroue Brewery in Quebec. All their beers are great [and also have excellent label art].

                      I have found it at Pavillions, and on the east side at Ramirez Liquors in East LA, Whittier/Soto.

                      SC

                      1. re: StockClerk
                        b
                        bulavinaka RE: StockClerk May 21, 2007 05:43 PM

                        Here here on Unibroue... each brew I've tried from there is great... I think on one of the other posts I asked who was making Trader Joe's current offering of Belgian-style and someone chimed back stating it was Unibroue - still have yet to open it - have a Unibrou and a Petrus in line before it...

                        1. re: StockClerk
                          amandine RE: StockClerk May 21, 2007 06:19 PM

                          An ENTHUSIASTIC third on Unibroue... FDM is my favorite, Maudite is another (heavy beer though! and i'm a bit of a lightweight) There isn't ANYTHING like an FDM, a basket of sweet potato fries, and the company of a good friend at Father's Office...

                          I have found a few Unibroues at Cost Plus in Pasadena, $5-$7. Vive la belle province!!

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