Belgian red ales, also sometimes called “Flemish” or “Flanders red ales”, are some of the most uniquely flavoured beers to ever exist.
The malt profile takes centre stage in these brews, with there being a low to moderately discernable presence of malt flavours such as toast, caramel, or chocolate alongside a practically non-existent hop profile that imparts almost no amounts of hoppy fruit flavours or hoppy bitterness.
To enhance the flavour profile of these beers, brewers often age them in oak, which helps to impart smooth flavours of chocolate and vanilla alongside dark fruit flavours of cherry, prune, raisin, and plum.
In a further twist, Belgian red ales usually possess a moderate to high amount of sourness, which helps to craft extremely complex beers with a very unique flavour profile.
For recommended food pairing options, match the sourness in these beers with salty foods, such as salted nuts or cured meats, robust meat dishes, including garlic sausage, and finally, sharp cheddar cheese.