It’s quite an accolade: in 2008 Tripel Karmeliet was named the World’s Best Ale in the World Beer Awards and today it’s still one of the finest in Belgium, a country that’s not short of good beer.

The Bosteels Brewery in the small town of Buggenhout is one of Belgium’s oldest beer makers, founded in 1791.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Ivo and Antoine Bosteels, representing the sixth and seventh generation of the family, who told me they had discovered a recipe for a beer brewed in 1679 by monks at a Carmelite monastery in the area.

It was made with three grains, barley, wheat and oats, both malted and unmalted. The family was keen to revive the beer as they thought it would appeal to discriminating consumers who enjoyed multi-grain bread.

Tripel Karmeliet, 8 per cent, was such a success that the brewery today is best known as Karmeliet even though it produces several other beers including Pauwel Kwak, also eight per cent, and Deus, a beer made by the Champagne method and aged in wine cellars in France. It emerges with the daunting strength of 11.5 per cent.

On my visit I toured the brewery and the manor house where the family lived with fine paintings decorating the walls and elegant furnishings.

The family were justifiably proud of their heritage and I was shocked when they sold the business in 2016 to AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewing group that’s best known for American Budweiser and Stella Artois.

I had a similar experience when I went to the Peroni Brewery in Rome where the family were equally proud of their beers and their heritage – and then sold out to SAB Miller, the world’s second biggest brewing group that has since been swallowed by AB InBev.

The conclusion I draw from these experiences is that I should stop visiting family-owned breweries for fear I carry the Black Spot with me.

But fears AB InBev might water down or in some way ruin the integrity of the Bosteels’s beers have not come to pass and Tripel Karmeliet is as a good as ever.

As well as the three grains, the beer is hopped with English Styrian Goldings. The brewing water comes from a well in the grounds of the brewery: the water is low in salts and rich in calcium.

The bronze/gold beer is re-fermented in the bottle and will improve with age. It has an aroma of biscuit grain, vanilla, banana and spicy hop resins.

Ripe fruit, creamy malt, vanilla and hop resins fill the mouth, while the finish is long, complex, rich, fruity, malty and with a final tart, quinine-like bitterness from the hops. The vanilla and banana character come from the house yeast culture.

Tripel Karmeliet is available from Waitrose at £3.50 a bottle. You will also find in the store another beer that’s the result of collaboration between a commercial brewery and a monastery.

The Van Steenberge Brewery at Ertvelde works with the St Stefanaus Abbey in Ghent that dates from 1295 and is run today by Augustinian monks. St Stefanus Blonde, seven per cent, is based on a recipe used by the monks when they brewed.

The beer is bottle conditioned and is made with pale, Pilsner and Munich malts and hopped with the Saaz variety from the Czech Republic.

The beer is conditioned in the brewery for three months before it’s released. It has spicy and peppery hops on the aroma with tangerine fruit, a creamy malt note and a tart character from the house yeast.

Tart hops and tangy fruit fill the mouth with rich creamy malt. The finish is dry with tangy hop resins, tangerine fruit and ripe malt.

Make your way to Waitrose for some Belgian beer delights packed with fascinating history.