Belgian beer is brewed with tradition
Beer has been a popular drink in Europe since the Middle Ages, when it was often brewed at religious locations. In Belgium, monks have been brewing beer for over a thousand years, with some of them still working to this day. These so-called Trappist beers, a type of Belgian abbey beer, have inspired the beer types and flavors that are being brewed today, from a subtle blonde beer to a strong 'Tripel'. Whereas the number of abbey breweries has been declining for centuries, the total number of breweries is increasing rapidly. As of 2021, there are 408 breweries in Belgium; twice as many as in 2015. Most of these breweries produce pilseners, making lager beer the most popular beer type in the country.
A highly sought-after beverage
In 2021, Belgium exported nearly 1.7 billion liters of beer, making it the third-largest exporter of beer in the world. Belgian beer mostly flows to other European countries, although the U.S. and Russia are also thirsty customers. Whereas one would expect a highly coveted Belgian "speciaalbier" to be served in specialized bars and restaurants, Belgian consumers often buy their beers in supermarkets and other retail locations.