Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue)

What can say? It's been too long since I tried and reviewed some new beers. So I dropped some change at the ol' beer store this past weekend, and have a few things on tap, so to speak...

Chimay is relatively ubiquitous in the American market (you can get it at Trader Joe's and Albertson's in Tucson, for example) so a lot of beer geeks are quite familiar with their products. What's funny is, I've seen Chimay Grande Reserve (as well as the "Red" and "White") so many places that I've never gone out of my way to actually, you know, try it.


My loss. This is a real beauty.

Upon opening, earthy, yeasty aromas drift upward. The beer pours a reddish mahogany color with a dark, cream-colored head. Holding it up to the light sets off a pinkish hue around the edges. In the glass, ripe fruit and sugary smells predominate. My first taste was a bit too cold to catch all of the subtleties in the flavor--I should have let it warm up a bit before opening it--but as it warmed in the glass, the true nature of this masterpiece became apparent.

I suppose I could try to dissect the flavor into its components, but I think the best way to describe this beer would be "symphonic". ("Symgustic" would actually be more correct, but this term has the decided disadvantage of not actually existing.) My point being that the flavors harmonize perfectly. You know that you are encountering many things at once, but it is the combination them that makes Chimay Blue such a pleasure to drink. So rather than do my best impersonation of a chromatograph, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the rest of it as work on what I'm actually supposed to be writing right now...

As a footnote, I think this would be an excellent introduction to fine beer--even to people who "don't really like beer". The exquisitely balanced flavor would be accessible to almost any palette, I think. And for all its complexity and strength (9%--don't say I didn't warn you), it is an extremely drinkable beverage.


  • At 1:54 PM, Blogger chris said…

    Definitely one of my favorites. And yeah, you can get a lot of Bud Light drinkers to try it. Some of them actually realize what kind of shit they've been drinking up until then. And if you can get someone who says they don't like beer to try it, I've had one change their mind. And now he's hooked on a beer we can't get here (Fat Tire) that he tried in Denver, meaning he drank beer without me being around to pressure him.

  • At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Any of the Chimay products are good. But don't overlook the Ommegang. The Hennepin is as good as the Cinq Cents and the Ommegang Belgian Ale beat Chimay in taste tests on both sides of the Atlantic. I used to be a Brittish style ale drinker but since trying Belgian beers, I'm totally hooked.


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