In this section you will find reviews of Belgian and Belgian-style beers, including Trappist and Abbey Ales, Saisons, Belgian Pale and Dark Ales. Sour ales like Lambics and Guezes, along with American Wild Ales are found in a different submenu. On this page you will find a running tab of the beers that have been reviewed, with brief descriptions of each beer and its rating. A full review of each beer can be found by clicking on its name.
My rating scale is: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.
Saison du Poisson (Little Fish) Rating = 8.5 It smells like a traditional saison with pilsner malts and spicy phenolics, but the taste is something more complex: vinuous, tart and mildly fruity.
Orval (Orval) Rating = 9 Summary: In this post I do a mini-vertical by tasting one of the world’s most iconic beers at 10 months and 3 years of age in an attempt to track the evolution as the Brett yeast added in the secondary fermentation becomes more dominant.
Temporal (Actual Brewing) Rating = 7.5 Summary: An abbey ale in the style of the elusive Trappist “single” understated fruity esters, spicy black pepper phenols and a dry finish. This is an easy drinking Belgian ale that won’t interfere with evening prayers.
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale (St. Bernardus) Rating = 7 Summary: Like a Christmas plum pudding in liquid form, St. Bernardus has produced a dessert leaning beer that conjures the spirit of the holidays without resorting to added spices.
Flemish Kiss (The Commons) Rating = 9 Summary: A Brett pale ale in the style of Orval. It hits all the right notes with inviting barnyard flavors of the Brett, subtle but unmistakable fruitiness, spicy floral notes from the noble hops, and the dry finish of a saison.
Big Star White IPA (Four String) Rating = 7.5 Summary: This beer looks and smells like a Belgian Blonde, but the taste has a little more kick thanks to a generous addition of American hops that blends harmoniously with the Belgian yeast flavors.
Spacewalker American Belgo (Great Lakes) Rating = 7 Summary: Sweet, fruity flavors from the Belgian yeasts vie with unmistakable citrus notes from the American hops for top billing in your taste receptors. It’s a bold beer, but the whole is not necessarily better than the sum of the parts here.
Coop Looter Saison (Sideswipe) Rating = 8 Summary: A Belgian-style Saison from the newly opened Sideswipe Brewing in Columbus. This beer has a fruity nose, a crisp mouthfeel, and a dry, spicy finish that leaves black pepper notes lingering on your tongue. Its a very impressive debut from a small local brewery.
Candi-Man (Indigo Imp) Rating = 6.5 Summary: Similar in taste to many beers in the Indigo Imp lineup, fruity and mildly tart. More like a high abv (7.2%) Berliner Weiss or a tart blonde ale than a Belgian Dubbel (as it is labelled).
Tripel Threat (Cambridge Brewing Company) Rating = 6 Summary: Chalky Belgian yeasts, candi sugar and fruity esters. This beer has the necessary elements of a good tripel, but it comes across as a little too thick and sweet, it’s borderline cloying. The 10% abv is well hidden but this beer is a notch or two below the best examples of the Belgian Tripel style.
Seizoen Bretta (Logsdon) Rating = 10 Summary: A farmhouse ale (Saison) from Oregon that uses Brett yeasts and is bottle conditioned with pear juice and yeast. The fruitiness is balanced masterfully by a restrained acidity, while the Brett adds a layer of complexity. Orval meets a geuze and they have a beautiful child name Seizoen Bretta. The front runner for my favorite beer of 2013.
Summer Pale Ale (Indigo Imp) Rating = 7.5 Summary: An easy drinking, open fermented, bottle conditioned Belgian style pale ale. A hazy amber beer in the Belgian blonde style, with fruity esters and candi sugar in the mix. The smooth creamy mouthfeel makes for a good refreshing summer beer that would top most American Wheat Beers on the market.
Pepe Nero (Goose Island) Rating = 8 Summary: A saison made with dark malts and black peppercorns. It drinks like a very good porter (e.g. Edmund Fitzgerald) accented with Brettanomyces yeast aroma and a pleasant peppery finish. Supremely well balanced this is probably the best “always available” beer that I’ve discovered in a long time.
Saison Dupont (Brasserie Dupont) Rating = 8 Summary: The quintessential saison. It combines earthy Brett-type funkiness, subtle fruitiness and a dry finish that leaves lingering black peppery flavors on your tongue. Highly carbonated from the bottle conditioning. If you like saisons this is a must try.
Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (Boulevard) Rating = 8.5 Summary: This American saison is a showcase for the bouquet of flavors that come from Brettanomyces Bruxellenses yeast, complimented beautifully by a generous dose of earthy-peppery noble hops.
Surette Provisional Saison (Crooked Stave) Rating = 6.5 Summary: A tart, dry saison that is something like a cross between a dry white wine and a tart apple cider (or as my wife says, this tastes like sour apple juice). The acid gives it a cider-like quality highlighted by green apples and lemon zest. More of an American Wild Ale than a classic Belgian saison.
Cellar Door (Stillwater Artisanal Ales) Rating = 8 Summary: A complex beer similar in a number of ways to Orval (see below), complex Brettanomyces funk, subtle fruitiness and some spiciness on the finish. Not quite the same as Orval but only half the price.
Benno (Stift Engelszell) Rating = 7.5 Summary: An Austrian Trappist beer brewed with Honey. It is reminiscent of Orval but a little thicker, and a little sweeter. If you like Trappist beers this one is worth checking out, although I would recommend trying Orval first.