It's about time that I topped up on Belgian Beer, I need to get over to Noel Cuvelier's shop again. Belgian beer is simply excellent, a huge range of styles. In the UK it can be quite expensive - and the range can often be limited to Hoegaarden, Leffe and the like.
There are a huge range of Belgian brews, some which are very similar to the British beer, some which are not (heck, there is a chocolate beer - not to my tastes).
I quite like 'Mort Subite'. Despite the name, 'Instant Death', it's got a low alcohol content and is very pleasant (I prefer the gueuze beer). In Brussels, they brew an interesting beer at the Cantillon brewery (which is visitable). It too is a gueuze, and is probably more reminiscent of a champagne than a beer - I only take this in small amounts as it's a little sharp for me. I have a fondness for Straffe Hendrik (brewed in Brugge), as well as Kwak (the glass is all important!)
Each Belgian beer has it's own glass. This was originally (and remains) an advertising measure, but it does affect the taste. It's something to do with how readily the volatiles escape, and how the beer is aerated. For example, Kwak (which has a really 'interesting' glass) is aerated as the drink approaches the end. This is when it would otherwise tend to lose it's 'sparkle'. The aeration is achieved due to the shape of the glass - it 'glugs' as air passes through the narrowing of the glass.
Duvel on the other hand has quite a round glass with a narrow opening, a bit like a brandy glass. It's probably mostly a placebo - but I know that things don't seem to taste how they should if the glass is wrong (though lots of glasses are almost right, and that's good enough).
Anyhow, we have long since run out of our Belgian beer stocks, occasionally buying a Duvel or a Hoegaarden Grand Cru from Tesco. A bar near my workplace has started to stock Mort Subite, but they charge a fortune for it.
I'm already losing track of the beers - I really must start to take notes.
It's time to head toward Poperinge! It's just a matter of getting around to it.