Over time the idea of cracking open a Cisk has become the iconic Maltese way of relaxing after a hard day at work. But if you’re looking for something a little bit out of the box here’s 11 foreign beers you need to try out.
Tsingtao is one of the most mass produced Chinese lagers, and comes in an iconic, no nonsense green communist bottle; and it tastes like it too. Tsingtao is not particularly outstanding when it comes to flavours, but hey it’s the beer of the proletariat that drives the big capitalist machine! Side note, unlike the UK which sells beer by the pint or half pint (500ml and 250ml), China gives that little extra and sells its fine lager in 640ml. Because more is better.
2. Erdinger Hefe-Weizen
Erdinger offer a large selection of wheat beers (wait, isn’t all beer made of wheat? Well no). Most beer is made from barley, hops, yeast and water. For people new to wheat beer, imagine a Cisk with sweeter notes and a more cloudy visual texture. Erdinger Hefe-Weizen is a good beer to base wheat beers’ flavour on.
3. Liefmans Fruitesse
Finally, we get to the Belgians! Liefmans Fruitess is one of the most popular fruit beers. And no: by fruit beer we don’t mean cider. Ciders are made from fruit (apples normally), fruit beers are flavoured with fruit. To those simply asking for a pinta lager at the każin this is maybe a little bit too detailed, however just think Cider, but much less sweet (like that candy you used to steal from the supermarket when no one is looking. Anyone…? No? Cool).
4. Gulden Draak
The Golden Dragon is quite the popular Belgian Strong Ale. It comes in an iconic 330ml white bottle with a Viking style longboat meets Chinese Dragon boat printed on the label. Some may be surprised to note that this particular Ale has an ABV of 10.5%. Make sure to ask for the matching Gulden Draak Tulip Glass to look that much more knowledgeable as you get drunk off your first glass. All in all it’s quite an easy taste but a smack in the head quicker than anticipated.
5. Westmalle Trappist Range
Westmalle is one of only 11 companies that produces Trappist beers. And by companies, I mean monasteries. In order for a brewery to legally produce Trappist beers (because yes, there are international beer laws) it must follow the strict rules made up by the International Trappist Association. Trappists come in holy grail style glasses and taste divine of course. Trappist beers basically come in Dubbel, Tripel and Quadrupel. That simply shows how many times they have been fermented. ABV ranges from 7% up to 11%.
The Belgian devil, or so its name claims. Duvel is a perfect example of a start off beer to get people from drinking Bacardi Breezers to growing a moustache and joining the gentrified world of beer. Duvel is a Strong Pale, and quite a good one at that. The brewery is proud to announce that it takes 90 days to make their magical beer and sources hops from as far as the Czech Republic and Slovenia. One thing to note about Duvel (before judging it because its double the price of your average Cisk) is that it’s often cheaper to buy one in Malta than in Belgium.
7. Rochefort Trappist
Rochfort is another of those monastic brews made in line with those meticulous international beer laws. Pay special attention to Rochefort 10 cause this one will knock you out just by sniff alone. Rochefort 10 is a Quadrupel Trappist beer and boasts an ABV of 11.5%.
8. Vedett Extra Blanc
Remember that Erdinger German wheat beer mentioned earlier? The Belgians make the same thing, but better. Vedett is all you like in a wheat beer with added citrus and coriander flavours. Everyone with the ‘Heineken is all I drink, the rest is shit’ mentality are missing out. Unlike Erdinger which comes in a long Germanic Weizen 500ml glass, Vedett is enjoyed in the most ironic tan-nanna standard table glass.
Back in 2014 this beer won four awards, and sure, you guys might be thinking ‘I came first in class in religion in 2004 and look how I turned out’. You may have a point, however if you have never tried this, it’s about time you indulge in one of the best beers Belgium has to offer. Tongelo could be described as low in carbonation, with a subtly fruity, perhaps even lemony tone and a touch of bitterness in the end. Give it a shot; well not so much a shot as a 330ml start.
10. Delta IPA
Yet another Belgian beer, but this one is extra special – promise. IPA stands for India Pale Ale and no, it’s not always brewed in India. IPA’s are especially bitter and coming back into fashion from their humble beginnings in the 19th century. Word to the wise, there is a large difference in bitterness between American or Belgian IPA’s and British IPA’s (the British being the less bitter of the two). Delta is another one of those perfect example beers and is a perfect example of a Belgian IPA, boasting a mix of Citra and Smaragd hops.
11. La Chouffe
Finally, the crème’ del la crème’ of beers found in Malta, La Chouffe (or garden gnome in English). This is the best in all categories. Apart from being world famous, coming in an awesome glass, having an awesome name and being Belgian, La Chouffe also tastes the part. Famous for being infused with coriander, it’s sweet, and has a comfortable ABV level. The best part about this ale is the spicy end notes, which are slightly bitter and have the iconic coriander kick. This is definitely an absolutely must try beer.