Belgium's Great Beers
Understanding the styles
The world's first golden lager was made in the town of Pilsen, in Bohemia, in what is now the Czech Republic. The best of the Czech and German Pilsener-style beers still have more malt and hop character than most derivatives elsewhere in the world, including Belgium. The Belgian examples, and some of those from just across the Dutch border, are in general slightly more characterful than the better-known labels from The Netherlands and Denmark. In the rest of the world, the best-known Belgian Pilsener is the lightly hoppy, grassy, Stella Artois. Within Belgium, the slightly maltier Jupiler is a bigger seller. Both are made by Interbrew. The rival national grouping produces the flowery Maes (pronounced as in Marcia) and the beautifully clean, dry, Cristal-Alken. Among the national brews, Cristal-Alken is the truest to the description Pilsener. It is made in the province of Limburg, bordering on Germany. So are Pax and Martens' Pils, perhaps the two best from independent brewers.