The blue cap Chimay was first brewed as a Christmas beer, but due to popular demand it is now available year-round. The Grande Réserve is a fine example of an abbey quad, one of few brewed by actual monks. Before my recent move to New York I had a beautiful Chimay glass, tuned to ring at the pitch of the Scourmont Abbey bells (see it here and here).
The Grande Réserve pours a hazy deep chestnut brown. The straw-colored head is creamy and thick, but doesn’t last long enough. The nose is round, sweet, and almost vinous. Dark fruit like prunes and brandy compliment the caramel and chocolate notes. There is a faint hint of hazelnut.
The flavor is rich. Alcoholic warming supports caramel, dates, prunes, and walnuts. A bit of a spiciness, probably also from the alcohol, might be described as pepper halfway to anise. The body is significant, but remains dry, and the lively carbonation and alcohol keep this beer remarkably drinkable. Have it today, or cellar it for years.
Chimay Grande Réserve