Belgium

Belgium should look familiar to anyone that has visited over the last couple of years located here next to Brazil in between the Morocco and France Pavilions. Chefs de France is just a few steps away.

Both waffle items return the same as last year, though the Beer-braised Beef is now served on top of mashed potatoes rather than a waffle.

Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes – $4.75

I have mixed feelings on this one – the waffle is certainly more novel than mashed potatoes, but the creamy, cheesy potatoes do complement the stew a little better.

Overall, the flavor profile is relatively straightforward now, which makes this an easier skip. But you might still elect to attach it to an order if you’re not in the mood for something sweet, but stopping to pick up another item. But at almost $5, there are only a couple bites of tough beef and a small dollop of potatoes. It’s potentially a shame as I rated last year’s a 9/10 both on flavor and value.

Taste: 5/10

Value: 3/10




Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream – $3.75

I really like these waffles, which are freshly pressed inside the booth and served seconds after, here sweetened up with quite a bit of whipped cream and the decadent warm chocolate ganache. It’s very sweet.

Taste: 10/10

Value: 9/10

Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream – $3.75

If you’re after something that at least “feels” slightly healthier, you might go the fruity route with the berry compote and what is typically a smaller spoonful of the same whipped cream. I personally favor the chocolate, but at $3.75 each, you might as well pick up both.

Taste: 9/10

Value: 8/10

Hoegaarden Witbier – $4

  • Store price: 11 cents
  • Festival price: 67 cents/ounce
  • ABV: 5%
  • Value: Bad

It’s pronounced “who-garden,” though you’re more than welcome to ask the female cast member how good the ho garden is this year. Hoegaarden is a light and refreshing 4.9% witbier, better than the Kronenbourg Blanc in France, with lemon and orange notes. It’s still not much of a value and your local grocery store probably carries a 6-pack for around $8.

  • Store price: 11 cents
  • Festival price: 67 cents/ounce
  • ABV: 6.6%
  • Value: Poor

Leffe Blond is pretty decent Belgian Pale Ale, though the beer snobs among us will say that this is “no Belgian Pale Ale.” At 6.6% ABV, it’s also boozier than most of the beers offered at the Festival, including the others here. The good news is that despite having more alcohol, you’re not going to taste it. It’s nice and crisp. Expect to taste cloves, bananas, and other spices.  But be beware, this is a gateway to other more robust (and expensive) Belgian Ales.

It pains me to rate the value as “poor” but it is pretty expensive compared to the store price of $7.49 for a 6-pack. With the highest ABV, it is the best beer value at this particular booth and all three are at least on draft, which is a bonus.

Stella Artois Hard Cidre – $4

  • Store price: 16 cents
  • Festival price: 67 cents/ounce
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • Value: Poor

Cidre arrived stateside four years ago to compete with the other macros launching lines under various names, including MillerCoors who owns Crispin and Redd’s Apple Ale and Boston Beer (Sam Adams) who launched Angry Orchard in 2011. Figuring out who owns what can be confusing. Even our heralded Unibroue is owned by Sapporo in Japan. Anyway, Cidre is clean, crisp, and a bit too sweet for me. This may be a nice opportunity to give it a whirl without committing to a 4-pack.

Comments

  1. Kirsten says

    Do you know if it’s possible to order the waffles without the cream? I’m assuming they construct them as they’re ordered, so hopefully so but you never know.

    • josh says

      I don’t think you’ll have any problem doing that. You can walk up and ask the cast member checking receipts and serving food first and then proceed to get in line. But they do make them as they’re being ordered so they should be able to get that to you without any issue.

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