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#14746 - 08/10/06 03:43 PM Re: beer thread **** [Re: tomtuttle]
sonicfox Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 902
Loc: Davenport, Iowa, USA
Hey, Tom! I finally drank some of that Chimay with my dad. Man...that cork was a pain to get off! Anyway, I asked my dad if he was going to be able to get the cork back on and he said something like..."well, we'll be drinking the whole bottle, won't we?" After I took my first gulp and felt the warmth of the alcohol slide down my throat into my stomach, I said "no, I don't think so!". Of course, back in the college days, I would've said, "hell yeah!"

While I knew the alcohol content was high, especially for beer, I was still taken back by it. It was quite deceiving when it went down the hatch so smoothly! If you couldn't actually *feel* the alcohol, you would hardly know it was so strong. Also, I remember when you said the taste changes when it gets warmer. I agree. I actually liked it better a little less cold.

Anyhow, this is a really nice smooth beer! I really like it, but I think it could be too easy for me to overdrink it in one sitting!
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#14747 - 08/15/06 01:58 PM Re: beer thread [Re: sonicfox]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8135
Loc: Tacoma
Hi Mary - Thanks for sharing your story.

You're right about the deceptiveness of strong Belgian beers. That is one of the many miracles of certain strains of yeast, and of the process employed. Chimay and many other brewers of abbey-style beer add candi sugar to the boil. It ferments out completely; in doing so, it provides several different additions to the flavor profile - the body of the beer is lighter, the alcohol is higher, and there is a bit of residual sweetness (as what stops the fermentation is the intolerance of the yeast to alcohol, not the lack of additional fermentables). The overall effect is wonderfully rich. Honestly, I usually have something to eat with beers of that strength, and I never remember having any trouble with the cork (store the bottle on its side). I can't imagine not finishing one!

But I think the real point is that you got a chance to share the experience with one of your loved ones.
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#14748 - 09/25/06 02:35 PM Re: beer thread [Re: tomtuttle]
sidvicious02 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 973
Loc: Brandon, Manitoba
This is really quite sad, the beer thread has slipped down to the 6th page....hopefully we can inject some life back into it. I have been encouraged by a couple of people to post my thoughts on the beer i enjoyed over my recent trip to Europe. Tom, hopefully this is alright with you, but i'm going to post verbatim, a large piece of an earlier message between us where i had summarized my thoughts. Since it's been almost 2 full months since returning home, my memory is slowly fading and I don't believe I summarize my thoughts as succinctly.

So we spent quite a bit of time in Belgium and i've decided that at some point in my life i must return. The beer was phenomenal and dirt cheap too. Most restuarants have at least 3 or 4 different brands each with a couple of different "varieties". The majority of little pubs have a couple dozen different beers and there's the odd special one with hundreds. We actually stopped at one bar in Brussels that had held the Guiness world record in 2004 for most different beers available...it was 2004 different beers!

Stella and Hoegaarden (pronounced Hoogarden in dutch apparently) Leffe and either Chimay or Ciney are the most common. The most expensive 'common' beer was usually the Chimay grand reserve at about $2-2.50 Eur/bottle. Tap beer was cheap though, my cousin's husband and i sat in a local bar one night and consumed 5 or 6 beer each and the total bill came to $11 Euro. I was shocked and had to throw the guy a couple of bucks for a tip because i was certain he'd forgotten to charge for everything. They weren't necessarily common beer either, though my memory is a little foggy, i recall having at least two abbey in that sitting.

Now for a bit of a report, and i will apologize profusely because i am not good at describing tastes or anything but i can tell you what i like and what i don't. The best blonde beer was Ciney abbey, though Leffe was a close second. The best dark beer was the Westmalle abbey. I still think the Chimay blue label was as good as anything though, just a nice balance of so many flavours. That being said i did develop a liking for the Chimay Trippel.

I know i don't have to tell you about Stella, it's the most common beer there (my cousin lives right close to the InBEV brewery in Leuven) but it's no more special than a Labatts beer in my opinion. The other major dissapointment was the Palm beer, which would classify as their "discount" beer. Very dissapointing, nothing there to taste. Though maybe not a fair comparison when tasted against the 2 Leffe i'd had prior.

In all the other countries we toured - France, Germany, Italy, Switz & Lux, any type of beer we had was similar to north american style major brews. Very light and lacking much flavour.

Unfortunately we had difficulty finding an abbey that we could tour and were certainly unable to find an abbey brewery to tour, i'm sure due to food safety concerns. We had borrowed my cousins car for a couple of days and on the way from Vienden, Lux (beautifully restored medieval castle) to Vimy, Fra (major Canadian WWI memorial) we decided to travel through a couple of the abbey towns. So we cruised through Leffe and saw the abbey, the same at Ciney, and then found the Abbey de Notre Dame Scourmonts where Chimay is brewed. We stopped there and were able to take a quick walk through the abbey though it was pretty late and more or less deserted. They had no beer/cheese tastings at the abbey but we they partnered with a nearby hotel where they served their beer & cheese. So we ended up snapping up a room for the night at that cute little hotel which turned out to be one of the nicer places we'd stayed the whole time with A/C and everything! The beer was great - even better when they match it with one of their "made special for each type of beer" cheeses.


I'll add a couple of pics, but apologize in advance for the quality of a couple (a few of these pics were after excessive amounts of beer had been consumed).


This is the door to the Leffe Abbey. They no longer brew Leffe themselves, i believe that has been passed off to Belgian brewing monster Interbrew.

This is the little hotel we stayed at near the Abbey de Notre Dame Scourmonts where Chimay is brewed. Really a classy little joint.

This was the minibar at the little Chimay hotel we stayed at....talk about fully stocked! (oh yes i was quite intoxicated by the end of that evening).

Hopefully i didn't bore anyone...i thought a few may find this interesting. More importantly, it gives us an opportunity to bring the beer thread back to life!
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#14749 - 09/26/06 12:10 AM Re: beer thread [Re: sidvicious02]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
What a way to bring back the beer thread! I am intensely jealous.
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#14750 - 09/26/06 01:46 AM Re: beer thread [Re: sidvicious02]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7373
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Like Peter, I am very jealous! I have yet to try a Chimay. Just this weekend I had one in hand but couldn't convince myself to spend the four dollars on the one bottle. In the back of my head I was picturing one of my roommate's friends selecting that one off the shelf in the fridge. Cringe. These are the guys that pound Coors and Bud Lite, and if they really want to treat themselves--Bud Select.
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#14751 - 09/26/06 04:06 AM Re: beer thread [Re: sidvicious02]
BrenR Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
Oh yeah, Scott? I got a chance to sample THIS beauty on the weekend:

Jealous yet? Yes, that's right... imported... er, no, guess it's not imported... but it's macrobrewed in beautiful Creston, BC by a heartless corporation. It's a pretty bland pilsner with an aftertaste of bar toilet seat.

Bren R.

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#14752 - 09/26/06 08:25 AM Re: beer thread [Re: sidvicious02]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
That was a great story, thanks. I particularly liked the minibar pic

I was flipping through the internet last night looking for tips on making pizza dough for high temperature cooking (although Jeff's page on sliceny pretty much covers everything) and ran into an article on "www.cookingforengineers.com" where the author was trying to determine whether it was the beer which made beer can chicken tasty or whether water and seasonings would be just as effective.

Not being a big beer drinker, he used Budweiser for the "beer" side of the experiment and concluded that the beer did not add any flavour. Well, you can imagine the reaction. Two hundred posts all essentially saying the same thing -- the damn beer had no flavour BEFORE you put it in the chicken, why would you expect it to magically develop flavour when you cook with it ?".

My favorite comment was from the guy who wanted to trap slugs in his garden, put out some dishes of Bud with no success, and was told that "even slugs won't drink Budweiser"


Edited by bridgman (09/26/06 08:29 AM)

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#14753 - 09/26/06 11:44 AM Re: beer thread [Re: bridgman]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8135
Loc: Tacoma
Great Story, Scott! I get goosebumps imagining the details of your adventure. Thank You!
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#14754 - 09/26/06 04:16 PM Re: beer thread [Re: tomtuttle]
sidvicious02 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 973
Loc: Brandon, Manitoba
Well i'll say one thing about our travel experiences, it certainly gave us both a better appreciation for "fine" beer. Those Belgians are crazy, every beer has it's own glass and if you stock the beer in your bar, you'd better have that glass available. So many different choices and we only got the tip of the iceberg.

We saw/did most of the traditional must see/dos in Europe (i'll save boring anyone with tales of that)...but my girlfriend and I both decided that if we were to go back, we would most likely spend the majority of our time in Belgium. The people there were the friendliest and most helpful of any country that we travelled. It seems to be very low-key, not quite like the hustle & bustle of some of the other countries we travelled. They also don't see the volume of travellers there as some other countries. Add all that to the beer....it's a no lose!

Sean, may i make a suggestion to help you justify that $4/bottle price tag....the Chimay Trippel is 8% right? That's like 2 beer for the price of...well 2 beer actually, but makes it a little more palatable when you think of it that way doesn't it?!?
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#14755 - 09/26/06 08:45 PM Re: beer thread [Re: sidvicious02]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7373
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Quote:

Sean, may i make a suggestion to help you justify that $4/bottle price tag....the Chimay Trippel is 8% right? That's like 2 beer for the price of...well 2 beer actually, but makes it a little more palatable when you think of it that way doesn't it?!?




Good point. Didn't realize it had that high of an alcohol content. I'll have to just bite the bullet and make another trip to BevMo this weekend. I knew working a few hours of overtime was going to pay off! Time to treat myself.
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