Saturday, 27 July 2013

Chimay Rouge

*The lads from Real Man Travels are at Toronto's Festival of Beer this weekend. Send us a Tweet to let us know you're there.  

Since my visit to Brewery Ommegang I have developed a fascination for Belgian beers. I’ve been scouring LCBOs (Ontario’s sole proprietor of liquor, and one of only two outlets authorized to sell beer) in search of these unique brews. Finding some of the more publicized Belgian and Belgian-style beers has proven quite a task; as while the LCBO is the regulating body for beer, each store has a different selection based on its size and the community it serves.

One brand that seems synonymous with Belgium’s Trappist brewing tradition is Chimay; and Chimay’s pride and joy is their Premiere ale (or Rouge or Red Cap, depending on who you ask).

Good beers and good views go hand in hand.
Chimay celebrated their 150th anniversary last year and has a great story, making it a really cool party and conversation beer. You hear those proud tradition claims a lot in the beer industry, but Chimay is one of few that stick this close to their roots and original recipe - though they have a bit of an unfair advantage. That’s because Chimay is, and always has been, brewed by monks in a monastery in the Belgian countryside. No jokes. I suppose when you live a devoted and solitary lifestyle, keeping your brewing traditions alive is a little easier. I’m sure celibacy, relative sobriety and other monk-ish customs don’t hurt either.

One of the things that make Trappist beers so incredible is that the profits from the beers are used strictly to maintain the monasteries that brew the beer. For breweries like Chimay, whose international beer brings in much more that just what is required to upkeep brew kettles, stables and halls, all the excess profits are used to support charities and fund good works. A brewery that makes an incredibly delicious beer and has a sincere dedication to faith, tradition and charity - you can’t go wrong.

Belgians are crazy for ales, in fact, it’s pretty much all they do. And they do them nothing like the ales we’ve become accustomed to in North America. For example, Trappist beers are usually bottle conditioned, meaning they go through a second or third fermentation in the bottle, allowing them to carbonated naturally as opposed to being force carbonated by adding CO2. This also gives Trappist beers a cloudy appearance.
Rouge is considered a dubbel, which, at 7% ABV, is on the milder side as Trappist brews go. To go stronger, look for a tripel or even the non-traditional quadrupel.

Chimay Rouge is a deliciously delicate beer. Everyone agrees you should drink this beer from a glass, and not chilled, just cool, to experience all the flavours. One sniff and you’ll be hit by fruit and the first sip will confirm it on your pallet. Definitely a brew to be savoured and enjoyed; after all, it’s 150 years in the making.

Life goal #1: find my way to Belgium and visit this monastery. They even have beer cheese!

User the LCBO Product Search to find Chimay at an LCBO near you. Drink responsibly, and enjoy the good life.

Scott F, (@SFRealManTravel) formally of the Ontario-focussed travel blog, is passionate about all things that make up a good life. Beer, friends, travel, sports, food, beer... he believes that the good life does not come to you, you must pursue it and make it conscious. Scott is in the process of returning to blogging and will be sure to stop by Real Man Travels whenever possible.  


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