Posts Tagged ‘Trappist Beer’

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Day #88 – Chimay Bleue (Blue)

March 30, 2011

Today has been super long but I am finally getting around to reviewing this gem.  The hardest part of this is waiting.  I got home late and just want more than anything to tear into this but I took it out of the fridge and set it on the counter to warm first….I want to experience this in all it’s majesty.  The first and only time I have had this, I was fairly new to beer in general, and I didn’t understand that this was bottle conditioned so I dumped the entire thing in the glass, and then couldn’t figure out why there were giant chunks in my glass.  Even still I loved it back then.  I can only imagine what I will think of this one tonight!

 

Chimay Bleue (Blue)

Chimay Bleue is probably Chimay’s most celebrated beer.  It is classified as a Belgian Strong Ale and kicks butt at 9% ABV.  These monks aren’t playing around.  I’ve been going back and forth to the kitchen trying to warm this beer up with my hands.  For the most part, Belgian beers can be enjoyed closer to room temperature than most American made beers.  That is not a general statement though….there are absolutely exceptions.  OK I can’t wait any longer.  Gotta pour it.

This beer pours elegantly.  No other word can describe it.  It has a hazy maroon color that touches on brown and rouge tints.  Lots of bubbles add to the already solid beige head.  Very nice.

I’ve continued to warm this beer as much as I can through natural means as I know this will release all the aromas that the brewers have intended.  The aroma certainly does not disappoint.  Lovely dark fruit and sweet Belgian candied sugars fill the nostrils.  Easy grains and more Belgian fruit/yeast flavors follow behind.  Lovely.

Flavor is lovely grape juice, plum, raisin, sweet malt, sugar and Taylor Swift.  I imagine that if Taylor were a beer she would be sweet and innocent.  I mean that in the most non-creepy way possible.  Light bitter finish reminds you that this beer has a bit of a kick to it; and the tingle on the tongue confirms.  This is one of my favorite beers to date.  The great thing is, even though I’m enjoying a 330 ml bottle of this, it also comes in sizes large and gigantic.  Check out this photo of my buddy holding the latter size.

I highly recommend that you try this beer.  Awesome!

Cheers!

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Day #87 – Chimay Rouge (Red)

March 29, 2011

Today is day 2 out of 3 for my Chimay trio.  I’ve had all three of them before but it’s been several years, but I thought I should let you know I started with my least favorite of the 3….and the white one was pretty good!  That should tell you a lot about what to expect on the red one today and the blue tomorrow.  This is also a new style for the blog today.

I also feel I should mention what the big news story was today on the beer front.  A Chicagoland company, Goose Island, which was considered to be one of the foremost leaders when it comes to craft brewing, was purchased by Anheuser-Busch.  Technically since they are now owned and controlled by a non-craft brewery, Goose Island themselves cannot be considered craft anymore.  This goes to show how quickly things can turn around in the beer industry.  Let’s hope for the best and that they don’t change anythings as far as recipes and improve on their marketing and distribution.  I would love to be able to review a GI beer for my blog, but have held off as they do not currently distribute in our area.  Anyways, on to the beer.

Chimay Rouge (Red)

Chimay Rouge is classified as an Abbey Dubbel.  They are brewed in the same fashion as Abbey Trippels but there are major taste differences.  While a trippel is typically light, spicy and zesty fruit in flavor, the dubbel is dark, heavy in malts and dark fruits.  The alcohol on this is 7%.  Let’s roll.

This beer pours a lightly cloudy amber red, rich with orange highlights.  There is a nice smooth white head that doesn’t disappear.  It gets fairly murky towards the top of the glass.

Man I could smell this beer from way above the glass.  All good things though!  It has a very yeasty smell, even though I saved the yeast dregs at the bottom of the bottle and saved them for my homebrew.  There is a nice dark fruit aroma as well, such as black cherries or tart plum.  Very nice.

The flavor is immediately lightly tart, which reminds me of grape juice.  A nice touch of sweet flavors from the fruitiness also fill in well.  It finishes with a yeasty dryness that doesn’t linger longer than need be.  The alcohol begins to be tasted at warmer temperatures, but only in the slightest.

Man this is good beer.  The Belgians know how to do it!  Well I guess technically the monks don’t since they took a vow of chas….you know what, never mind.  Enjoy the beer and leave me to enjoy mine.  Blue is tomorrow!

Proost!

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Day #86 – Chimay Triple / Blanche (White)

March 28, 2011

Over the next 3 days I have the pleasure of reviewing authentic Trappist beers.  What is a Trappist beer you ask?  In general terms, it is a beer brewed by monks for monks.  The FUBU of beer you could say.

Here are some specifics:

  • Out of the 171 of the world’s Trappist monasteries only 7 produce beer.
  • 6 are from Belgium (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle and Achel) and one from the Netherlands (Koningshoeven).
  • These monasteries make up the International Trappist Association that monitors and controls what products may carry the name “Trappist”.

For a beer to qualify, it must meet the following criteria: (quoting wikipedia)

  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks.
  • The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
  • The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.

Trappist beers are well regarded among the craft beer community.  In fact, the much debated “Best beer in the world” is brewed at a Trappist monastery,  Westvleteren.  Don’t bother looking for it at your local Kroger.  They only authorize sales of their beer at the brewery itself (in Belgium) and the monastery-owned bar across the street from it.  If you really want to try it you can find bottles of it on ebay, but you’ll pay a bit to get your hands on it!

Chimay Triple / Blanche (White)

The Chimay brewery is located in Baileux, Belgium at the Scourmont Abbey.  It is an authentic Trappist brewery and also produces cheese as well as beer.  They have 3 widely distributed beers that may be found in North Texas, and I will be reviewing all 3.  The street terms for these are Chimay Red, White and Blue.  How very American for a Belgian brewery.  🙂 Speaking of cheese, I think I’ll accompany this beer with a delectable cheese platter.

I’ll be starting with the white beer, which in actuality is an Abbey Trippel.  It rings in at 8% so this is no weakling.  A Trappist beer should always be served out of a Trappist glass, preferably from the brewery its made for.  I have my trusty Chimay goblet here, ready for pouring.

I poured this beer very slowly, so as to leave the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle.   I am actually cultivating this yeast for a homebrew beer I am planning on doing later this week.  Even pouring it slowly, the beer still develops a nice frothy white head.  The color starts at a light orange yellow near the stem of the glass and gradually grows to a darker amber color as it nears the head.  Lots of suspended sediment can be seen in this as well.  That is to be expected however.

The aroma is fairly yeasty, with lots of banana and clove esters.  Very much a Belgian fruit aroma.  Sweet notes and fruit are the main things that I can smell for sure.

The flavor is fruity, like sugary fruit snacks that tingle the tongue.  The alcohol levels can certainly be felt through the tingles and it’s overall mouthfeel.  Flavorful and tasty, this starts off well and has a slightly bitter/fruity-dry finish.  Lots of other spicy notes in this, like clove and zesty flavors.  Very nice and better than I remembered.  The best has yet to come however….

Op uw gezondheid!  (cheers in dutch)