Chimay Trappist Beers by: Steph Doan
Imported by: Manneken-Brussel Imports
One in eight sounds like pretty good odds, so it is almost a guarantee drinkers will love a beer from Chimay, one of only eight Trappist breweries in existence. Located in Belgium, you can’t get a truer Belgium-style beer than this.
The Cistercian Trappist monks who call Chimay home began brewing to support their needs and those of their foundations. It has been roughly 150 years since, and the full-bodied beers are still a success. Their three main beers are “Chimay Premiere” also called the Red Cap, first brewed in 1862; the blue cap or Christmas beer that was crafted in 1948; and the white cap triple in 1966.
Trappist beers are defined by three rules making them a truly unique craft. One, they must be brewed within the walls of a monastery. Two, the monks living in the monastery must have full control of the productions. This means there is no room for outside investors. Finally, 90 percent of all net proceeds from production must go to charities.
Chimay has rules itself. The monastery uses no pesticides because they are also organic farmers, said Bobo Van Mechelen the brand ambassador. Year after year the grains are grown according to the monks’ requests by nearby farmers. This attention to detail keeps the beer pure as the saints who brew it.
Quality control is very important to the monks. One of the crafters is Father Theodore, who spent three years choosing the perfect yeast. He began isolating yeast cells and developing them in 1948. Chimay still houses a laboratory that houses ever-developing tools for crafting the beer’s distinct taste. Mouthfeel, aroma and fullness are continuously evaluated and improved.
Bobo asks Pittsburghers to try one of the three Chimays. It’s a different taste from a different culture, but one that beer drinkers of all regions can enjoy.
“I’m sure they will like them,” he said.
Checkout the website to not only learn more about the beers but also a few recipes using them. www.chimay.com
The Chimay Red Cap
Red in packaging and color, this beer dates back to 1862. The craft glistening copper craft is the abbey’s flagship beer. Its taste is silky with a light bitter touch concealing hints of dark fruit, malt, caramel and nuttiness. The beer has seven percent alcohol.
The Chimay Triple
This blondie is no dummy. The beer is a smartly crafted delight. The amber-blonde triple is newest to the Chimay family and is also Bobo Van Mechelen, Sales Manager for Manneken-Brussel Imports, favorite beer. The fresh hops and yeast are balanced with a touch of bitterness. It smells and tastes tangy with hints of tangerine sours. The triple has an eight percent alcohol.
The Chimay Blue Cap
A blast of flavor in a bottle, Chimay describes this beer as the one with the strongest personality. Formerly a winter seasonal, it’s now found year-round since 1954, due to its popularity. It makes up 52 percent of the abbey’s production. Dark, rich and malty, this authentic Belgian beer is light while still full of caramel. The full body carries hints of tobacco and raisin. It has a higher alcohol of nine percent.