Belgium - Belgian Pale Ale - 10.5% ABV. Soft vanilla notes hit the nose first and unleash a wave of fruity and spicy aromas that blow the taster away. A sublime hint of orange gives the beer a pleasant citrus accent as the perfect match for the sweet caramel.
For those who seek a bit of mystery and intrigue, look no further than Belgian Strong Dark Ale. The mystery in this dark beer comes with the complexity of the beer, which is largely determined by the brewer’s intent. Intrigue comes from the sometimes deceivingly high alcohol that can hide from the senses behind the dark ale’s aromas and flavors. Deep amber to dark brown in color with a generous, creamy tan head, Belgian Strong Dark Ales deliver a range of rich, dark malt sweetness and toastiness, dark fruity esters, peppery phenolic spiciness and other sensory treats. As in most Belgian ales, these characteristics are all generally balanced nicely, with enough background hops to keep the sweetness in check. Traditionally bottle conditioned, some versions of Belgian Strong Dark Ale – especially authentic Trappist offerings – tend to be drier than Abbey and New World interpretations, which lean sweet.
Chimay beers have been brewed by Trappist monks at the Notre-Dame de Scourmont Abbey in Chimay, Belgium, since 1862. The monks continue to develop the production of Trappist beers, following the monastic traditions of natural brewing, and make cheeses, with revenues supporting the operation of the abbey and the monks’ social-service projects.
Chimay bottles several beers in both traditional, 750-ml bottles with cork and wire closures and smaller, 11-oz. bottles. The first Chimay creation was Chimay Première, a copper-colored, 7 percent ABV beer. It’s known as Red Cap in the smaller bottle. A dark Chimay Christmas ale, first brewed in 1948, has become a year-round offering. With a powerful aroma and complex flavor and 9 percent ABV, it’s called Grand Reserve in the large bottle and Blue Cap in the smaller bottle. In 1966, Chimay created a Chimay Triple, labeled Cinq Cents in the large bottle. This 8 percent ABV golden colored beer combines sweetness and bitterness in a rare balance, and is dubbed White Cap in the small bottle.