After years of barely drinking any beer (and not having much liking for the watery light beers that were my default options), I've become obsessed with Belgian beers since last year.
The catalyst for this transformation was my trip to Belgium, where my friend Luc introduced me to the wide variety of Belgian beer styles - lambic, geueze, dubbel, tripel, Flemish ales - culminating in the highlight of my week-long trip - a visit to St. Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren, where the namesake delicious Trappist beers are brewed. Quite a treat for this beer novice considering that the much-coveted Westvleteren 12 is hard to find even in Belgium. In New York City, forget about it.
Anyway, a year has passed since that trip, and I've been tasting more Belgian beers either by buying them at the liquor store (Whole Foods Bowery is particularly outstanding), or at the Belgian beer bars/restaurants in NYC (The Belgian Room, Vol de Nuit, Petite Abeille, Resto) or at outstanding bars in general (The Ginger Man). If I see a Belgian beer I haven't tasted before, most likely it will be purchased on the spot or placed on the "must try" list.
Whenever I talk to people and mention Belgian beers, quite a sizeable number of them have this concept of "Belgian beer" as the mass-produced InBev brews like Leffe, Hoegaarden, and Stella Artois. If that's what you like, then nothing wrong with that. However, especially in New York City there are many more brands available, being served at a ton of bars and restaurants, so here are a few recommendations on where to find great Belgian beer in NYC.