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Apr 10, 2008 07:46 AM

Any Belgian Beers Better Than Chimay That Are Can Be Easily Found in Bars?

I've been on a Chimay kick of late, ordering it whenever I can find it in a bar or restaurant. But is there another Belgian beer I should try that folks consider better than Chimay, AND that isn't so rare that I would never be able to find it in a dining spot or watering hole?

Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. Cant think anything could be found easily, after Chimay I would guess that Westmalle and Rochefort would be the next most common Belgians but still these would be in finer or more boutique stores. Now, if you want the belgian style, Ommegang (NY) and Unibroue(Canada) produce some really good and affordable belgian style beers found at most of the better stores in the area. If you are at one of the really good stores (Bauer, Wine Gallery, Charles St) you may even find Lost Abbey, Jolly Pumpkin, or South Hampton brews, which are all American brewers who specialize in the Belgian styles.

    1. Go to the Publick House and start experimenting. Or a good beer store for less pricier option.

      What people deem as "better than Chimay" or any other beer is quite subjective. It's something you really need to find out for yourself.

      Rating sites like BeerAdvocate and Rate Beer will tell you what the collective on-line beer geek community thinks are good.

      Another option is to look on the Beer Advocate website for dates when the Belgian Beer fest in Boston takes place in order to try a wide variety of brands and styles.

      You will probably have a hard time finding any Belgian selections besides Chimay, Interbrew offerings, and other well known Belgian brands in just any dining spot or local watering hole. Unfortunately, for the most part, those who order beer for their restaurant/bar are just not knowledgeable about beer outside of the mass produced and well advertised or whatever is brought to their attention by their distributor(s).

      2 Replies
      1. re: LStaff

        Yes, get to Publick House. Lately I get the feeling that people are mostly drinking the Chimay on tap. (The white but the bottled version tastes quite different, not better or worse, just different.) I prefer the red, but that's just me.

        Allagash, Ommegang and Unibroue are all great suggestions that should be available to you in better retail outlets. There are a lot of Belgian Tripels that get imported that I'd recommend, Westmalle, T'smisje, St. Bernardus and Grimbergen are all nice and pretty available (T'smisje might be hard to find but we get it in Washington) I like the Maredsous line too as far as pretty readily available Belgians go...

        1. re: Kevin B

          I'll third the Publick House. I'd suggest getting there early and sitting at the bar. The staff is very knowledgeable and if it is not busy, they are more than willing to help you out.

      2. Belgian beer is really diverse stylistically. If you're wanting more stuff like Chimay specifically, then you're looking for trappist ales like the aforementioned Westmalle and Rochefort. Rochefort is probably my favorite of the trappist ales available. You're limited to specialty bars for stuff like that. The majority of watering holes' experience with Belgian beer is Stella Artois.

        1. While I'm far from an expert, I know what I like. My favorite belgain style beer is Allagash White, brewed right there in your New England...Portland, ME. More spicy than fruity that leaves you with a great, refreshing aftertaste that lingers on the pallate and in your nose. I would think since thre brewery & you are in the same region it would be readily available.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gigantobro

            I've had Allagash, and loved it. I think I like the Chimays a bit more, though, but I wouldn't say no to either!

          2. where are you? Distribution differs nation wide.

            If you were in Los Angeles or Pasadena, I'd send you to Lucky baldwin's or the Delerium Cafe. both ahve a wonderful selection of Belgian beers, some that are hard to find elsewhere. On tap or in bottles) His Annual Belgian fest brings in people from all over!

            heck, the owner, David, was hororably knighted in Belgium, and quite often the Belgian Prime minister drops by when he is in town.