Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France and is one of the founding and core members of the European Union. Belgium has a population of over ten million people, in an area of around 11,700 square miles (1/3 the size of Indiana). Belgium is politically divided in to the Flemish north (Dutch speaking Flanders) and Wallonia, the French speaking south.
Belgian beer comprises the most varied and numerous collection of beers in the world. Belgian beer-brewing origins go back to the Middle-Ages, when monasteries began producing beers. In 1919, the “Vandervelde Act” prohibited the sale of spirits in pubs, inducing Belgian brewers to produce beers with a higher level of alcohol.
Belgian brewers are prone to brew high alcohol beers and are not adverse to the use of “adjunct” ingredients in their beers. Where German typically adhere to the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot (purity requirement) dating to 1516, Belgian brewers will use ingredients other than water, yeast, hops and malt. Candi sugar, fruit and various seasonings are common.
Many Belgian beers are bottle conditioned (re-fermented in the bottle) and Belgian drinkers are very particular to use the proper glass for each beer they consume.
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