3 Belgian Beers and Aromatic Cheese – My Review

One of the joys of traveling is trying wine and beer that are not available back home.  Over the last 2 weeks I had the chance to visit Spain and the Netherlands.  While in Amsterdam I decided to try some Belgian beers.  My only requirement is that I did not taste them before.  I randomly picked these 3 beers:

  • Maredsous Abbaye Blonde (6% alc)
  • Hertog Jan Karakter (7.5% alc)
  • La Chouffe Blonde (8% alc)

There is a wide variety of beers made in Belgium.  Blonde, Trappist and Abbaye styles are ones I like the most.  If you have never tried a Belgian beer, read on, and then you can check out more information on the Wikipedia Beer in Belgium webpage.

3 Belgian beers and Dutch cheese

3 Belgian beers and Dutch cheese

Abdijkaas

To this mix, I purchased a cheese to see how the beers fared with food (I know 1 cheese is a very small sample size).  The cheese was Abdijkaas 50+, made in the Netherlands.  This cheese had a think black rind which I removed.  The cheese has a creamy colour with small bubbles.  Quite aromatic!  Soft and creamy in your mouth with a bitterness on the after taste.  Nutty and creamy flavours to finish. A more intense flavour if you eat the rind.  This cheese really had a strong aroma, which could scare off many people, but the flavour as mentioned was creamy and very pleasant.  I would buy this cheese again.  If you like Oka cheese, you will like Abijkaas.

Maredsous Abbaye Blonde

Light golden colour with sweet spices, caramel, malt, and overall a bit of sweetness on the nose.  Medium hops, dry with a light body.  Malt and sweet spices linger on the finish.  Small bubbles play on your tongue.  My favourite of the 3 beers.  In general I enjoy most Blonde beers that I try.  They are lighter that Dubbel or Tripel beers.  If you are just getting into Belgian beers, start with a blonde.

Maredsous Abbaye Blonde with Abjijkaas cheese

Maredsous Abbaye Blonde with Abjijkaas cheese

Hertog Jan Karakter

Karakter, or “Character”, is a medium dark, amber coloured beer.  Light malty nose. It has a higher level of hops than other beers.  It is dry and has a mild caramel flavour with some smokiness. No sweetness.  The smokiness lasts on the finish. This was my second favourite beer.

Hertog Jan Karakter beer

Hertog Jan Karakter beer

La Chouffe Blonde

I have been told that this beer is available in Vancouver, although I have not tried it here. This beer has a medium apricot skin colour.  Light malty and sweet spices on the nose, plus an odd “hot dog/wiener” aroma.  Light plus body with a light level of hops.  More of the hot dog/wiener flavour on the palate. Light bitterness and some malt too.  My third favourite beer.  The hot dog/wiener aroma and flavour did not work for me, so I cannot recommend this beer.

La Chouffe Blonde beer

La Chouffe Blonde beer

So how did these three beers stand up against the aromatic Abdijkaas?  The Maredsous was too light for it, so the cheese aromas/flavours overpowered the beer.  The Hertog with it’s Karakter did make a good pairing.  The La Chouffe was also too light for the cheese.

If there are any private liquor stores in Vancouver or BC that want to bring in a new Belgian beer, please bring in the Maredsous and contact me, as I would love to enjoy this beer some more. Enjoy!

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Some people prefer red wines. Some only like Cabernet Sauvignon. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I met many great wine makers. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.