13 December 2008

Chimay Red Belgian Beer

A while ago, I was talking with a coworker about beer when he asked me if I had ever tried Belgian beer before. After stating I had never had the inclination to try it, he remarked "you should. All the real beer drinkers are drinking it." Having no idea what qualifies one as a "real" beer drinker (I personally consume untold gallons of the stuff), I dismissed his comments as the symptom of yet another pretentious marketing trend. I have since tried Leffe, Hoegaarten and Stella Artois, and if this is what "real beer" consists of I'll pass. Stella was the only one worth drinking and is mediocre at best - certainly not worth the price they charge for it. The others, quite simply, are keif.

Which brings me to the subject of tonight's review. Chimay Red is a Belgian beer that has been the subject of yet another pretentious marketing trend. Made by Trappist Monks since 1862, the beer has actually been touted as "the world's best". Lofty words for a product made in a country that seems to know little more than France about the brewer's art. Evidence of this is the wine bottle the product is packaged in, complete with a champagne cage and cork to seal it with. Seriously, who sells beer in wine bottles besides the French? And why would a beer need a champagne-calibre stopper? We would soon find out.

I removed the wire cage from the cork and gave it a gentle push with my thumbs. The cork took off like a rocket, smashed into the wall and bounced back, nearly strinking me in the face. At least I had the foresight to point it away from the television. "Beer isn't supposed to do that," stated Brian as we got our second clue that Chimay is a little different from our average brew. Brian had selected a couple glasses and we poured the beer into them. The colour was a murky brown, probably due to the fact that Belgians are apparently too lazy to filter their beer. The only unfiltered beer style that is excusable is weissen, and this was far from weissen as you can get. The head was adequate, but Brian's glass foamed up way to much and had to be sinked and refilled. As he went about getting his refill, I noticed champagne-style bubbles in the murky darkness in the glass. I started to wonder if they actually use champagne yeast to make this stuff. One can never tell, but thus far I had not seen anything close to brewing genius from Belgium - especially when they seem to have confused their beer and wine.

Undaunted by this mysterious turn of events, we raised our glasses and drank. The strong flavour of this ale was not unexpected, as I had counted on a strong flavour based on its colour. However, the initial palate was immediately overcome by what tasted like strong coriander. Who in the hell puts coriander in beer? Brian was not at all impressed with the herbal finish, and stated he was not sure if it actually was coriander, but it certainly did not belong in a beer bottle. I concurred with this reasoning and concluded that based on my experience, the Belgians are utterly clueless when it comes to brewing. Chimay may be an interesting novelty, but I could not see myself drinking more than two bottles of this stuff without feeling violently ill. The only way Chimay Red could possibly be "the best beer in the world" is if the only other contenders was a skunky Grolsch and a piss-warm Schlitz. The flavour is simply too spicy to even be considered beer in my books.

7 comments:

The Operator said...

"Beer isn't supposed to do that,"..LMAO! You good sir, are a professor of distilled goodness.

Plaidstallions said...

I'm still waiting for that Belgian beer that knocks my socks off.

I never expected Chimay to be the one and i was correct.

Liquor Pig said...

I think you'll be waiting an awful long time for that ship to come in.

John III said...

What do the Belgians do good? Make bread? Allow Germans to walk through their yard to attack the French? I dunno....

Jordan M. said...

Oh buddy...you guys are harsh! Have you tried the Blue? Or Achel? Or any other Trappist? And Rochefort 10 and Westvleteren 12 are considered the top 2 Trappist beers...not Chimay RED!

Keep trying.

Alan said...

You, sir, are a moron. Only someone who expects all brewers in the world to do the same as Inbev would find extreme fault in beers from Westmalle and Chimey. Please stop this ridiculous blog as you know nothing about the subject matter.

I do not want to go deep into all of your moronic comments, but, so you know, Chimay and other Belgian beers use champagne style bottles because of the high carbonation of their beers. If you put Chimey into a Rolling Rock bottle, the glass would explode.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it should explode, the beer tastes like a frenchman's ass after a lengthy truffle hunt.


Only a moron attempts to silence an opposing opinion.