Rochefort beers are identified by number: Rochefort 6, 8 and 10, being in order of strength (and complexity). I consider Rochefort 10 to be one of the finest ales in the world. Weighing in at 11.3 percent abv, R-10 is strong and very complex, layered with rich flavors of chocolate and bananas, making this a fantastic beer to pair with dessert (though it's a dessert in itself!).
Rochefort 8 comes in less strong at 9.2 percent, but it packs similar complexity along with more of a wine-like fruity flavor layered in.
Rochefort 6 will not disappoint at 7.5 percent, it is a simpler beer with bready notes of toasted raisin bread and is great with pungent cheese or grilled meats.
Abbey Westmalle offers only two beers: Dubbel and Tripel. Westmalle serves as the standard of the style for both its Dubbel and Tripel.
Westmalle Dubbel contains 7 percent abv, and it magically balances rich malty and even sweet flavors with a clean, tart finish. This is an ideal beer to go up against bold red wines like zins or even softer pinot noirs.
Westmalle Tripel is a big, blond beer delivering a spicy, phenolic (clove) kick and weighs in at 9.5 percent. This is an awesome beer to pair with creamy or cheesy dishes. The beer finishes with a palate-cleansing dryness.
These beers should be served at cellar temperature (between 55 and 65 degrees) and ideally served in a chalice-shaped glass big enough to contain the large foamy head. Be gentle with the bottles before serving as these beers are all "bottle-conditioned," meaning there is a slug of yeast on the bottom. You may not want to stir it up by rough handling.
The last "shot" of yeasty beer should not be wasted, though. It contains a large, healthy dose of B-complex vitamins to help your liver metabolize the alcohol. Divine providence? I am sure of it.
For more on the craft of beer, see Rich Ireland's "Beers to You" blog at thegazz.com.