The beer that taught me about beer
A Review of Chimay Blue by Bieres De Chimay S.A.
Posted on 6/15/2011 by Chops
I have a very special place in my heart for Chimay. This is the brewery that opened my eyes to heavier beers. A long time ago in a grocery store far far away, I purchased my first bottle of Chimay Blue, a hefty Belgian quad. I had only recently begun my adventure into better beer. I was a budding novice, having rarely ventured beyond the comfort zones of ambers and hefeweizens. But I was feeling sassy that day and found this little stumpy bottle with a whopping 9% ABV. It was by far the strongest beer I had seen to date, so I thought if I'm going to try something new, let's go all out.

Chimay Blue ended up being a revelation. With a single sip, this beer taught me a valuable lesson: I had never actually had a real beer. At that moment, it was like the beer world had magically opened up to me. I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. I remember thinking to myself, ''how is this glorious nectar sitting in the beer section of a grocery store?! I can only imagine what sublime wonders await me at the beer store! I must find more!'' I was instantly hooked. From that moment on, Belgians were my obsession. From there my tastes spread through Europe. I discovered Irish Reds, Scotch Ales, English Pales and eventually my precious German Bocks... all thanks to Chimay Blue.

Every brew enthusiast can recall two specific revelation brews. The first beer was the one that taught you that there are better beers out there. Mine was Mac and Jack's African Amber. The second beer was the one that taught you that there are really amazing beers out there. Mine was Chimay Blue.

Chimay Blue has a warm mahogany coloration and actually resembles an Imperial Red. This is a traditional Trappist monk beer, so there are plenty of yeasty floaters swirling around. I would actually recommend leaving the last 5% of the beer in the bottle because there is quite a bit of sediment. The aroma is very, very rich. You can definitely smell the alcohol along with tart fruits and what I can only describe as waterlogged wood. The aroma actually reminds me of a rain forest. Very cool.

The first sip is front loaded with spices and alcohol, so that strength makes it's presence known really quick. Luckily it quickly settles down into a very pleasant creamy, bready delight. The flavor train is incredibly complex, so definitely take your time with it. I taste black cherries, cinnamon apples and mulling spices to name a few. The mouthfeel is very warm and smooth, much like a heavy winter warmer. The finish is surprisingly light for such a heavy beer, so feel free to take your time with the middle ground.

Overall, Chimay Blue is a wonderful representation of the style. It's not the best Belgian quad I've ever had, but it certainly deserves to be considered one of the greats. It's also one of the few Belgian quads that are relatively easy to find, so do yourself a favor if you haven't tried it. Like I said before, I have a soft spot for Chimay Blue. I have never lost my taste for it and it continues to impress me. I have long since explored the vast array of Belgian styles and have found many beers that have blown my mind. So for those of you ready to explore the world of full-bodied beers, here's your starting line.

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Chimay Blue by Bieres De Chimay S.A.
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