Sales of Belgian specialty beer have climbed by 30% in Britain, according to new figures. While lager is still the most popular form of beer for UK drinkers, Tesco has reported that sales of Leffe Blond and Hoegaarden rose last year by 66% and 48% respectively. Industry experts believe that the combination of an increasingly sophisticated beer palate and increased exposure due to cheap flights has opened the nation’s eyes to the exoticism that Belgium’s brewers have to offer. Ian Targett, beer buyer at Tesco, said: "When Hoegaarden and a few German wheat beers first arrived over here in the late 1990s, many drinkers held their noses up because they saw them as a novelty. "Now many of those same drinkers have been converted because they realise how refreshing and full of taste these beers really are. Sales can now prove that at last the British drinker is finally approaching beer with the sophistication normally associated with the wine world."