CHIMAY GRANDE RESERVE. CHIMAY BLUE CAP. Whenever I hear these words, they evoke such fond memories. Being my favorite beer of all time, I consider it to be the most unique. Every person who I ever introduced Chimay Grande reserve to, never failed to like it. It has been there for me in the happiest of times in my life, and one of the most impactful. (Read our 30-year tribute, where I introduced my dad to Chimay trappist ales.) Enjoying Chimay Grande Reserve is always a sacred, reverent experience for me.
Oringially brewed as a Christmas beer, it became so popular, that the brewery decided to release it with year-round availability. It can be cellared for several years. I had the distinct privilege of tasting a 10-year old version in the early 2000’s. It had attenuated to a very deep, mature tasting beer. The yeastiness and caramel notes in the beer were wonderful, almost indescribable.
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
9% ABV. Served at 52°F in the classic Chimay chalice. It poured an easy 2-finger head. Dense, thick, light tan color. The color is a deep murky brown. If you hold it up to the light (especially if you pour the yeast into the glass as I did) you can’t see thru it. The meniscus is medium to slow rising. Excellent Brussels lacing in the glass as the head collapses (around 4-5 minutes).
AROMA / BOUQUET:
The bouquet is heavy in the specialty Chimay yeasts; heavy caramel, chocolate, with a fruity undertone. The malt and yeast aromas are the most intense of the 3 Chimay Trappist ales. As the consumption time goes on and as the beer warms up a bit, more of the fruity esters are expressed. The chocolate bouquet is much more evident.
The taste is heavy dark (BELGIAN) chocolate. Heavy in the fresh yeast. The fruitiness is in the background. The effervescence of this beer is masterful. It’s one of those Trappist Quadrupels that has a wonderful carbonated sparkle to it.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The mouthfeel from the effervescence completely assaults all the olfactory senses. It fills up the entire mouth with its creaminess. The aftertaste is a wonderful dark Belgian chocolate and fresh yeast.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: Chimay Bleue cheese. Sausages. ENTRÈES: Pork, beef, lightly smoked meats, smoked salmon. Oddly, I would enjoy this with Moule en Frite. DESSERTS: Anything chocolate. Anything bitter chocolate. anything assertive with raspberries, cherries, dark chocolate cheesecake.
If I could have only one beer in the world available for me to drink, it would be Chimay Grande Reserve- without question. Being my favorite beer for so many reasons, I give Chimay Grande Reserve my HIGHEST recommendation. Do not live your life without trying this one.