And yet another trappist, this time from a fairly large brewery, in the province of Hainaut.
Differently from other trappistbreweries, this one has always sought new markets, and is as such represented on foreign markets for a rather long time already. Unfortunately for them, this has earned them the contempt of a part of the beeramateur community, and sometimes undeservedly so.
Yes, it is true that the streamlining of the production with more modern methods has somewhat uniformed the beer, and curbed its complexity, but certainly this brand, their showpiece no less, is still a superb example of what lives as the fixed idea in Belgium, of what a “trappist” ought to be.
“Bleue” actually stands for the colour of the cap, later the label too, as they were initially identically named. The name “Grande Réserve” is actually only in use for the corked 75cl bottles. Interesting too, is that Chimay Bleue was one of the very few beers that was vintaged since decennia.
A deep brown beer under a luxurious cream head, the nose reveals immediately a wealth of roasted, dark malts, lots of restsugars, and an ester overload that is immensely fruity: ripe, dark plums, and soft, ripe pears come to mind.
Those aromas are repeated with even more dark fruit, as blue grapes, but also banana. In the aftertaste, liquorice, roasted bitterness and wood are freed. It is very full-bodied, giving it a satisfying mouthful to enjoy slowly, which is well-advised, since it boasts a powerful 9% ABV.
by Joris P. Pattyn