Belgium and Michigan are very similar. Both have populations of about 10 million. Belgium has the 20th largest economy in the world. Michigan, if it was a country, would be the 24th largest. Yet, the area of Belgium could fit into southeastern Michigan. Michigan craft brewers over the last 30 years have developed many great beers. Belgium has family brewers that have brewed continuously since the 1500s. One brewer we visited was Roman Brewery, that’s the family’s name, started brewing in 1545, fifty-three years after Columbus discovered America. The Belgian Trappist monestaries go back even further to the 12th and 11th centuries. Yet Belgium became a country (1831) only six years before Michigan became a state (1837).
Beer is such a part of the Belgian culture that they have over 130 brewers producing more brands of beer than there are days in the year in an area one-eighth the size of Michigan.
Google has a neat application to map out Belgium's brewers. See the map below. Notice the scale in the lower left. This is a country shorter than the distance from Detroit to Kalamazoo at the widest.