I tried a Chimay once. 3 years ago, way at the start of my beer-journey. I had forgotten about it. That's why this blog is kinda cool sometimes.
BUT...More recently I've been pondering the Chimays but put off trying them. I will tell you why. I could never find a store that had all 3 kinds in 11.2 oz bottles. Usually a store might have 1 or 2 varieties in the small bottle, and the 3rd in a 25.4 oz bottle. Or they would only have 1 or 2 varities. BUT...Upon a recent trip to a new fancy beer store in my hometown I spotted all 3. Red, White, Blue. In small bottles! Done. (And btw, the Vine & Brew in Okemos, MI = Thumbs Up).
Chimay is brewed in a Trappist Monastery in Belgium. The profits go towards sustaining their community and also supports various charities. And yes, I shared these with my dad. We drank them in the order of Red-->White-->Blue for the USA and for the increasing levels of alcohol.
First the red, or Chimay Primiere, a dubbel. This poured a cloudy brownish amber, with tons of sediment, and a thin off-white head. It smelled primarily of Belgian yeast, vaguely fruity, with a touch of spice. And the taste! Lovely. Strong flavors - yeast, apples, plums, sweet malts, cloves, just a bit of spice. Extremely drinkable! At 7% alcohol and such strong flavors, I'd expect this to be more of a sipper but I found it very easy and pleasant to drink.
2nd - the White, a Tripel with 8% alcohol. OK, this one was "love at first sip." That is actually the phrase that came to my mind. This poured a golden straw color with a huge sudsy white head. It looked thick with spots of dark sediment. It took a second for the nose to emerge, if you will, but then there was yeast, cloves, and a hint of banana. In my face. I don't know why I didn't like this so much a few years ago. Palates change, my friends. Belgian yeast, a bit of sweetness, a touch of spice, cloves, light fruit, maybe a little pear. Crisp, dry, no detection of alcohol in taste or temperature. I couldn't stop drinking it, then found myself eyeing my dad's glass greedily. Fantastic.
The Blue is a Strong Belgian Dark ale at 9% alcohol. It poured a dark cloudy brown with ruby highlights. A finger of off-white head made this one pretty. It smelled of brown sugar, Belgian yeast, bread, and plums. It tasted like all of those things too. The mouthfeel was soft, thick, smooth, and pleasant.
I REALLY enjoyed all of these Chimays. I found myself most impressed by the "drinkability" factor. These are strong, intense beers but they are all delicious and very easy (and pleasant) to drink. So happy to have tried these. But the one I will want to go back for the soonest is the White Tripel.
A's all around except the Tripel is a total A+!
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