Beer in Belgium varies from pale lager to lambic beer and Flemish red. There are approximately 178 breweries in the country, ranging from international giants to microbreweries.
The Trappist monasteries that now brew beer in Belgium were occupied in the late 18th century primarily by monks fleeing the French Revolution. However, the first Trappist brewery in Belgium (Westmalle) did not start operation until 10 December 1836, almost 50 years after the Revolution. That beer was exclusively for the monks and is described as "dark and sweet." The first recorded sale of beer (a brown beer) was on 1 June 1861. (source)
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