Monday, December 30, 2013

Bières de Chimay - Première (Red)

For the Sixth Beer of Christmas, we revisit my favorite Belgian brewer.

Bières de Chimay
Chimay Grand Réserve is an old favorite. I reviewed it for Christmas 2011 and decided to pick up another of the Chimay family for this year's Twelve Beers.

Amber with tinges of purple and orange, the beer pours up an attractive glass with large off-white bubbles. The head disappeared quickly and left minimal lacing on the glass.

Peppery yeast is the first thought that comes to mind when inhaling the fragrance. There is also a sweet undertone, like bananas and citrus. It's a very clean smell.

The medium body of this beer is chased by crisp carbonation. The taste follows the aroma with sweetened black pepper, bananas, and light citrus (more lemon than orange) flavors along with some cloves and ginger. Overall the taste is a crisp and clean as the aroma. It's thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing.

While Première is quite a tasty drink, Grand Réserve costs the same (at least where I shop) and is, in my personal opinion, the better of the two.

Brewer: Bières de Chimay
Location: Baileux (Chimay), Belgium
Style: Dubbel
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Interesting Note: In sharp contrast to Rogue Ales, last night's brewer, Bières de Chimay only brews four beers: Grand Réserve, Première, Cinq Cents, and Dorée. The first three are readily available but the last is a special "patersbier" (or "Fathers' Beer") that is brewed for the monks themselves to drink. Until recently, it was only available to the monks at an inn near the abbey. But now the beer has branched out to a number of British pubs.

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