eer made by Monks in Monasteries is a conundrum in itself, but that is what Trappist beers are, and that’s where monks have been making some of the best and strongest beers since the Middle Ages. These monastery brewhouses originated in French Cistercian monasteries such as the monastery of La Trappe in Soligny where there was one of the first brewhouses in 1685. The primary goal of the monks making and selling the beer is not for profit, but to raise money to help fund the monastery, support the community or help charities around the region.
Trappist breweries have since then spread around the world where there is a total of 11 different breweries still operating in Austria, Italy, the United States, Netherlands and Belgium.
There are three distinct styles of beer that are made in the breweries; Enkel/Single, Dubbel/Double and Tripel/Triple. These terms are used to describe the amount of malt and original gravity of the beer.
The most popular are the Dubbel and Tripel. The Dubbel is a dark brown ale, and while the Tripel is a lighter beer, it is actually one of the strongest beers of the Trappist variety.
Belgium is where a top Trappist beer, Chimay, originated from. This brewery was founded in Scourmont Abbey in 1862, where they produce a total of five different beers. The production of Chimay beer is a 10-step process, which gives all of the beers a different taste from any other beer you’ve tasted before. Chimay Première or the Chimay Red is one of Chimay’s oldest beers from the brewery and with the dark brown color Dubbel, it has a strong but sweet fruity taste. The Chimay Gold or the Chimay Dorée is one of the lighter beers Chimay produces. With its different spices and flavors, the Gold offers a different taste from the Première and is actually one of the beers the Monks typically enjoy at the monastery. One of Chimay’s strongest beers is the Chimay Cinq Cents, or the Tripel, that has a golden orange color and is the hoppiest and driest of the five beers made at the Monastery. The classic Chimay ale is the Grande Réserve, or the Chimay Blue, and is a copper-brown ale that has a light and creamy head with a bitter taste.
Fun Fact: These beers are all bottled right down the street from the monastery at a bottling plant where they can bottle 40,000 beers an hour!
These beers have grown and are making their way to taps all over. Sixteen years ago the creation of Chimay Cinq Cents on tap began, and since then, more of the five beers produced have joined suit.
The best way to find where these beers are on tap is through the TapHunter app which allows you to find any of these beers at a restaurant, bar or tap house.
GOOD TASTING DEPENDS ON GOOD SERVING
- Tilt your glass at 45°.
- Delicately pour half of the bottle into the glass.
- Straighten the glass to finish serving.
- Leave the last centimeter at the bottom of the bottle to avoid the yeast clouding your beer.
However, if you wish, the beer can of course be served with its yeast, which is perfectly edible. For more tasting tips, visit www.chimay.com.
Chimay Cheese Fondue
Recipe Courtesy of Chimay. For more great recipes, visit their website at www.chimay.com.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES TWO )
- Chimay Triple
- A la Bleue
Allow around 200 g cheese per person, which
for two people would be 200 g Poteaupré and
200 g A la Bleue. Remove the rind from both
cheeses and cut them into cubes.
- Bring 2 dl Chimay Triple to the boil in a ‘fondue
pot’ and stir in the cheese in about four batches.
Make sure you do not allow the mixture to reboil.
Adding flour is totally out of the question,
as this would make the cheese fondue far too
thick, as well as breaking down the flavor of
both the Chimay Triple and the cheese.
- Before using, you can rub over the ‘fondue pot’
with a garlic clove, a shallot, a truffle or an
olive tapenade. This gives an extra taste dimension,
and makes the fondue just that little bit
- While fonduing, it is best to stand the fondue
pot over a low flame, to keep the mixture beautifully
fluid and warm.
Serve pieces of baguette with high-quality charcuterie, such as Jambon d’Ardenne, Ardennes salami, chorizo or lomo. For vegetables, pieces of (precooked) carrot, cauliflower and broccoli florets, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts work very well together. Also, do not forget pickled gherkins and silver skin onions.