A Lot From Nothing

Location of Origin: Route Charlemagne 8, 6464 Baileux, Belgium
Date Established: 1862/Officially opened in 1863
Category: Independent, Regional, Trappist Brewery With Relatively Broad International Distribution and 123000 hL of Annual Output.

If there is one thin silver lining we can gather from the most recent "Great Recession," it's that we can go through life knowing that life doesn't end when all is lost. In a way, the story of the American automobile industry making great strides coming out of bankruptcy, is very similar to the history of Trappist Beer. During the French Revolution, many Trappist monks fled to Belgium in the wake of violent political and religious upheaval. So by the time they finally settled on a monastery that would take them in, they had literally nothing. What would they do to support themselves and the monastery? Well, there was this idea of brewing beer to make money in order to support the functions of the monastery. This wasn't a new idea, as the concept of brewing in house to sell in order to purchase food and sustenance had been around since the 16th century. So brewing just took naturally for these monks seeking religious tolerance. Chimay was founded in the Scourmont Abbey (where it continues to operate today) located in the Walloon municipality in the Hainaut province. The brewery operates like any other brewery, adhering to strict traditional brewing rules and guidelines. The water they use is drawn directly from a well located at the Monastery, and the brewery produces four beers (though one is a patersbier - one only consumed by the monks themselves), as well as three cheeses. The three distributed beers are Belgian style ales which are rich in flavor, stronger in alcoholic content, cellerable beyond five years, and unique in character. The profits generated from the sale of the beer goes directly to various local charitable efforts - another strict guideline of the International Trappist Association. Brewed with only Water, barley, wheat starch, sugar, hop extract, and yeast, the formulas for these beers have not changed since production began. And though they are were the first brewery to use the Trappist Ale designation on their beer, they haven't been living in the past. Today, their beer is enjoyed around the world in 750 ml bottles, and the monastery even produces a small line of cheeses which pair well with the beer. The cheese is produced by cows who graze within the Monastery's property. And Chimay, being as self supporting and sustainable as possible, uses the spent solid filtered waste grains from the brewery's operations to feed the cattle. So you see, Red, Blue, White, and Gold can all be green. And the brewery which sprouted from a small community of Monks with nothing to their name but their beliefs, grew into something truly great.

Reviewed Beer from Chimay Brewery

None Yet.

All rated Beer from Chimay Brewery

11-28-14 - Premiere (Red) - 3.87, Belgian Trappist Dubbel, 7.00%
11-22-10 - Blue Reserve - 4.09, Dark Trappist Ale, 9.00%
First brewed in 1863, this Trappist beer was originally distributed and brewed by monks, for monks. It has since been made available around the world, still being produced in accordance to strict Trappist certification requirements and yes, still in the monastery. This is a dark brown, unfiltered, fruity, peppery, aromatic, and full bodied beer. Pours fairly smooth with a thinner, lighter, and short lived foam head and a medium high viscosity. Full of bold banana and clove flavor, a long lasting "wetter" finish, and a nice malty presence. Definitely enjoy with a hearty meal. If you're patient enough, the Blue reserve can be cellared for up to 15 years for additional conditioning.