25 Beers of Christmas: #12

Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue)

Belgian Strong Dark Ale

9.0% ABV

Bieres de Chimay S.A. – Baileux, Belgium


We’ve talked previously about the Trappist- and abbey-style beers out of Belgium, which I am particularly partial to, and Chimay is a Trappist producer of the three major styles: Dubbel, Tripel, and Quadrupel or Belgian Strong Dark Ale.  Their dubbel, Chimay Premiere, comes in a red bottle, while their tripel, often known as Chimay Cinq Cents, is notable for its white bottle.  Today’s beer, their Belgian strong dark / quad, is Chimay Grande Reserve, which you’ll find in the blue bottle.  Of the three, this is by far my favorite, though all are excellent.

This mahogany brown, nearly opaque brew with its foamy, sudsy light tan head smells like dark raisins, black cherries, currants, and rich caramel.  You’ll get plums, dark pitted fruit, candi sugar, some herbal-earthy hops, and warm alcohol on the taste.  The high carbonation and full, creamy body with a moderate hop bite lend to an exquisite mouthfeel. 

Chimay Grande Reserve paired well with multiple cheeses I tried with it, including an aged cheddar, creamy Gouda, and a pungent blue.  It’s also incredible on its own, or with savory beef and/or mushroom dishes.

Pour Grande Reserve, and other dark Belgian beers, into a snifter, tulip glass, or chalice, at about 45-50 degrees, and sip slowly.  Chimay’s distribution in the U.S. is pretty wide, and all three of their primary beers should be found anywhere their products are sold.  If you are in Central Arkansas, the single bottle selection at Lake Liquor in Morgan/Maumelle almost always has these beers available, so you can pick up a mixed pack.

JAB – 12/14/15