Belgian Beer varies more than probably every country in the world, much inspiring new wave brewers. From pale lager to lambic beer and Flemish red, they are the fathers of creative brewing. There are approximately 150 breweries in the country, ranging from international giants to tiny microbreweries.
The Trappist monasteries that now brew beer in Belgium were occupied in the late 18th century primarily by monks fleeing the French Revolution. However, the first Trappist brewery in Belgium (Westmalle) did not start operation until 10 December 1836, almost 50 years after the Revolution. That beer was exclusively for the monks and is described as "dark and sweet." The first recorded sale of beer (a brown beer) was on 1 June 1861.
The majority of Belgian beer brands are sold in bottles.n Draught beers tend mostly to be pale lagers, wheat beers, regional favourites such as kriek in Brussels or De Koninck in Antwerp, or Seasonal Beers.
These days, Belgian beers are sold in brown "Vichy" style tinted glass bottles (to avoid negative effects of light on the beverage) and sealed with a cork, a metal crown cap, or sometimes both. Some beers are bottle conditioned, meaning reseeded with yeast so that an additional fermentation may take place. Different bottle sizes exist: 25 cl, 33 cl, 37.5 cl, 75 cl and multiples of 75. The 37.5 cl size is usually for lambics. Other beers are generally bottled in 25 or 33 cl format (depending on brands). Virtually every Belgian beer has a branded glass imprinted with a logo or name.
Belgium exports 60% of its beer. Some draught-beer brands produced by ABInBev - Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe - are available in many European countries. Aside from these, mostly bottled beer is exported across Europe. Belgian beer brands have started to become available, often at "Belgian Bars". Such brands include Brasserie Brunehaut, Karmeliet, Kwak, Maredsous, Palm, Rodenbach and St. Feuillien.