The main types of beer


The German word for "old". Altbier usually refers to a copper-colored German beer with a distinct, full bodied taste. This type is often associated with the city of Düsseldorf.

Abbey beer

A strong and fruity ale made by commercial breweries. Most of them have signed contracts and pay royalties to monasteries to name their products after still existing or former monasteries, or give the products fictitious ‘clerical’ names.

These beers are not brewed by monks, hence these beers are not Trappist beers!

Strong golden beer

This term describes a strong and smooth ale of golden color. It is prickly and forms a nice head. The best known representative of this style is Duvel.

Bière de Garde

French style beer from north-west France. Medium to strongly alcoholic ales with fruity notes.

Aged beer

These beers age in oak barrels. The micro-organisms in the wood  impart the beer with a distinctly noticeable acidity. These beers are aged for a long period of time and the brew masters need much skill and knowledge. The best known aged beers are Liefmans and La Duchesse de Bourgogne.


Traditional English beer, often served from casks. Traditionally it is dry, reddish-amber or bronze in color with a hoppy taste. Order a "pint" in an English pub and we you will be served a beer without a head at room temperature!

Bock, DoppelBock

A strong lager. Most of the "Doppelbock" beers are made in Bavaria. You can identify these beers by their names which end with the suffix -ATOR.

They are sweet or very sweet, with powerful smooth caramel notes, and almost always dark or even black.


This is a lambic  beer. Candy sugar is added to give it a distinct sweet and sour taste.


Raspberries are added to lambic which turn the lambic into a fresh and fruity beer.  It is served in champagne style glasses.


This is a blend of vintage lambic beers (aged 1-3 years in oak barrels). Old lambics are more acidic and flat and young lambics are sparkling and have a more fruity taste. The residual sugar of lambics starts the bottle fermentation. The art of making gueuze is to blend different lambics to make a well balanced beer with a smooth and not too sour taste.


Wild cherries are added to lambic beer which turns it into a fresh and fruity beer. Often served as aperitif.

Lager, pils

A light beer, by far the most widespread and most consumed beer in the world. A normal beer, ideal for quenching thirst.

This beer comes from the city of Plzen, the place where lager beer was first brewed.


A beer with spontaneous fermentation that ages in oak barrels for medium to long periods of time. It is used to make Gueuze, Kriek, Framboise or other fruity beers such as the Pecheresse. (For more information about spontaneous fermentation see section Fermentation in chapter Brewing Beer).


Bock beer to celebrate the arrival of spring


English term for a mildly hoppy, light beer. Some of them may have a darker color.

Pale Ale

Fruity beer from England with a copper color.


A dark, almost black, top fermentation beer from London. It has a fruity and dry taste.


Toasted malt is used to make this beer. It is made in the Bamberg area in Germany.


A Belgian Summer beer: very refreshing and slightly sour. Spices and herbs are added to some of the seasonal beers. A medium strength beer.

Scotch Ale

Originally a beer from Scotland, but nowadays brewed mainly in Belgium. It is a dark brown, velvety beer with a very malty and a slightly bitter taste.


A top fermentation beer made with dark-toasted barley. It has a chocolate-coffee aroma and creamy foam.


is a brand name, only beers brewed by Cistercian monks may be named Trappist beers !

En Belgique

  • Chimay (abbay of Notre Dame de Scourmont)
  • Orval (abbay of Notre Dame d'Orval)
  • Rochefort (abbay of Notre Dame de St-Rémy)
  • Westmalle (abbay of Notre Dame du Sacré Coeur)
  • Westvleteren (abbay of Notre Dame de St-Sixtus)
  • Achel (abbay of Notre-Dame de Saint-Benoît)

En Hollande

  • La Trappe from Tilburg
  • Zundert (Abbaye Maria-Toevlucht)

En Autriche

  • Gregorius, Benno (Abbay Engelszell)


  • Spencer Trappist Ale (Abbaye Saint-Joseph of Spencer)

En Italie

  • Tre Fontane (Abbay of Tre Fontane)

Only these beers are real and genuine Trappist beers. All of them are brewed on the premeises of the abbeys!


Vienna lager style beer, of amber red color with sweet and malty notes.


white wheat beer, very refreshing, light. They may be served with a slice of lemon.

There are two types of wheat beer

  • The German ones (called Weissbier, Weizenbier) are sweet and sour, made with malt barley and wheat only.

  • The Belgians ones (called white beer, wheat beer) are not as sweet as the German ones and drier, more intense in taste and sour. They are made with barley malt, wheat, and oats. Curacao and coriander is added to some of them. The outstanding representative of Belgian wheat beers is Wittekop.