Price: $4.95 (bottleshop), $12.50 (pub)
Manufactured: Baileux, Belgium
A while back I had a business meeting in Brussels which nicely coincided with some (not unusual) industrial action by the local airport baggage handlers. Long and short of it; I was stuck in a Brussels airport lounge with a little spare time to taste some of the local beers. I can’t say I remember everything I tried (Leffe among them) but I do remember leaving with the message, ‘Belgium makes a great beer, but sh*t it’s strong’.
That leads me onto Chimay which is one of the easier to find Trappiste beers that I have been dying to try in order of Red, White and Blue for some time. I have picked up all three and over the next few reviews you will get my opinions on all.
There are only 7 breweries that are able to call themselves Trappiste that are brewed by monks in monasteries around Belgium and one in Holland. Red is the entry beer at 7% alcohol followed by White at 8% and Blue at 9%. I would be keep to do all three in the one sitting but I feel the quality of the Blue could be a little random.
Dark red/ tan in colour with a think amount of particulates (muddy) that cloud the beer. I am assuming this is residual yeast. The sediment stays around for the life of the drink. The beer pours with a nice foamy cream head that dies away over time.
The nose is much lighter than I was expecting. I can definitely pick up the maltiness and fruit at the front. Other reviews refer to it as bananas but I think that it is more like caramelised bananas with a prominent yeastiness.
This is quite a sweet but controlled beer. It is caramel in flavour (mid palate) with a slight bitterness. The beer has a thick body about it like a wheat beer that coats the mouth.
The finish has an ever so light splash of bitterness but continues with the caramel sweetness. The slightly warm alcohol finish in the throat that reminds you this is not a sub 5% beer.
This is a lovely beer no doubt about it, but I cannot say that it is a truly great Belgium beer. It is let down by the muddy appearance that comes from having a tan beer with heavy sedimentation. If I was handed one of these at the start of the night I would be a happy man but I just know that better things are to come from the Chimay trio.