Whether you’re drinking a lambic, saison, dubbel, or witbier, Belgium is a rare example of tradition meeting innovation that lives through to present day. Globally, the esteem of Belgian beer has not waned in the slightest, thanks to brands like Kwak, Rodenbach, Gulden Draak, Chimay, Cantillon, Tilquin, and Brasserie Dupont. Thanks largely to preserved Belgian brewing techniques, styles are still widely emulated, and production methods, including bottle fermentation and coolships, are still used. But on top of that, contemporary breweries like de la Senne, Alvinne, and Hof ten Dormaal have kept things fresh in the country by elevating traditional styles by using modern techniques and ingredients. Simply put, it’s hard to top the globally recognized and coveted brands that come from Belgium, all while still hosting a vibrant culture within its own borders.
Zach Mack is Thrillist's contributing beer writer, the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in NYC, and absolutely nothing else. Follow him: @zmack.