10 Great California Belgian Style Beers

Top 10 California

Food GPS beer editor Sean Inman chooses 10 great California beers by style.

My lists aren’t the typical countdown style going from 10 to 1 with a drumroll. Nope, mine are more a survey of a particular style and that is very apparent in this, the first list of 2014. Belgian style ales cover a striking gamut of aromas (horse blanket), colors (golden to dark cola brown) and flavors (too many to list) and I hope to cover as wide of a swath of California-brewed ales as possible. As usual, if you have suggestions, please let me know.

Lost AbbeyRed Barn Saison

Lost Abbey beers are sought after and some are in short supply, so instead of recommending that someone search out Duck, Duck, Gooze, I am going to say, try the sometimes overlooked saison Red Barn. A farmhouse ale that is spiced with just the right touch of Organic Ginger, Orange Peels, Black Pepper and Grains of Paradise.

Green FlashBrasserie St-Feuillien  – Friendship Brew

A bit of a cheat since this dark saison is brewed with the famed Belgian brewery, Brasserie St-Feuillien. The beer combines the lightness of the style with a darker and heavier malt.

Ladyface Ale CompanieDark Horse Pro-Am Belgian Quad

I’ve added this one to the list because I hope Brian and Kingsley get to brew it again and because I really enjoyed this dark bruiser of a beer.  Some really great toffee notes in this brew.

Sierra Nevada / Ovila – Saison

They had me at mandarin oranges and peppercorns.  This saison is my favorite of the Ovila line of monastery beers from Sierra Nevada and it is a lovely spicy treat.

Brouwerij West9 Belgian Tripel

Brouwerij West may be known more for their wacky labels and hard to spell name but their tripel is a fine example of the style. Straightforward without any bells or whistles.



Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Blog Comments

Firestone Walker: Beer Blogger Trip aka #LA2FW2 - LA Beer Fan

[…] the wine industry vs. the food industry.  It was great.  I also was able to share a bottle of our Belgian Dark Strong “Dark Horse” that I had added Brett Bruxellenes to back in January.  I bottled up 3 gallons of that beer in […]

Thank you so much for having Dark Horse on your 10 Great California Belgian-Style Ales list! We had a blast working with Brian and Kingsley. The timing of the list couldn’t be better – We have been saving the last keg of Dark Horse for our 4th Anniversary week, and we’re putting it on tap this Sunday, January 19th, as all taps go to Ladyface ales.
Again, thanks from everyone at Ladyface!

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