There are approximately 180 breweries in the small country that Belgium is, Breweries ranging from international giants to microbreweries. In 2016, UNESCO inscribed the Belgian beer culture on their list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
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Brewing beer in Belgium dates back to the age of the first crusades in the 12th century. Under the Catholic Church's permission, local Walloon and Flemish abbeys brewed and distributed beer as a fundraising method. The relatively low-alcohol beer of that time was preferred as a sanitary option to the not so widely available drinking water at that time.
On average, a Belgian drinks about 84 liters of beer each year, down from around 200 each year in 1900. Most beers are bought or served in bottles, rather than cans, and almost every style of beer has its own particular, uniquely shaped glass or other drinking vessels. Using the correct glass is considered to improve its flavor.