The secret is out. Belgian beer is, if still not a household word, well known among those who enjoy good beer, in Seattle as well as elsewhere. There are pub beer nights featuring imports, hosted by people like Ed Carfora of MBI (the company that imports Chimay Trappist ales and other Belgian beers), Craig Hartinger of Merchant du Vin, and Alan Shapiro, whose SBS Imports brings in De Proef's Reynaerts beers. (De Proef also brews a bespoke line of Belgian ales for Bottleworks, including Krullekop Triple, Van den Vern Grand Cru, and Bangelijk Blonde.)
Beer Issue • Mountain Fresh: First, a word from our founder, Gordon Bowker. • 20 Years of Beers: The Northwest leads the micro-brew charge. By Don Scheidt • Highs and Lows: A chronology of Northwest brewing. • The Future: It's Belgium. Really. • Belgian-Style, Northwest Brewed. • Food: Some favorite brewpubs. • Calendar: Where to go, what to drink.
Among locally brewed "Belgians," try Elysian's Bête Blanche and Saison Elysée, both seasonal beers for warm-weather months. Bête Blanche is a fine, pale Belgian-style triple, a strongish golden ale with a bit of sweetness; Saison Elysée compares well with similar beers from Wallonia (French-speaking Belgium), with a subtle spicy hint that turns out, surprisingly, to be cumin.
Snoqualmie Falls' Spring Fever (as the name implies, also seasonal) is akin to a spiced triple with its coriander notes. Dick's Silk Lady is a light blonde ale, and at just 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), quaffable, making it a good summer refresher. Dick's Belgian Double is a sturdy beer, comparable to the likes of Chimay Rouge. Dick's Tripel carries its style in its name, a strong pale golden ale at 9 percent ABV, and if that ain't sufficient for ya, Dick's Grand Cru is stronger yet, at 10 percent.