Belgian Trifecta Part 2: Chimay White

On the docket:  11.2 oz. bottle of Chimay’s Cinq Cents (white)

Poured into:  Brand new logoed Chimay Chalice

S:  A stark white, meringue-like head sits on top of a burnished bronze body.  This is not a fake tan however, but the real deal.  Until pouring the remains of the bottle (gasp) I could see tiny bubbles shooting up to join with the underside of the head that sits around, leisurely, taunting me to disturb it.  Lacing is nearly the entire side of the glass.  Wow.  Thick blotches with pockmarks.

A:  Gentle malt sweetness melds with a yeasty clove and spiciness.  Hops are very subtle, and lend a spiciness as well.  The alcohols whisper at you, leading me to believe they’re well integrated into the beer.  I could smell this for hours.

T:  Sugar and spice, which makes tripels nice, greet the tongue immediately.  Despite the sweet greeting, this beauty dries out in an instant.  The slightest touch of caramel, brown sugar, and an ending of subtle noble hops round out this beer.  Along with the previous, delicate warmth develops as you drink it.  It reminds you that though this beer is easy and enjoyable to drink, it’s got some heft.  The label states 8%.  I’ve got a small bottle, but a cork and cage version would do most people in.

F:  Tingle, tingle, tingle, how the bubbles jingle.  Most use the term “expressive” carbonation when referring to traditional tripels.  It certainly applies here.  Without the carbonation, Cinq Cents might be a bit of a chore to finish.  Thankfully, the bubbles “lift and separate” the thickness from your palate.  The hops and the spice stick around considerably after a swallow.  Then you go back for more.  Long, drying finish.  Refreshing.  But NOT a lawnmower beer.

O:  The monks of Scourmont Abbey have been at this for more than 150 years.  They’ve got their art down to a science.  Excellent execution of the Trappist tripel style, those in-the-know utter the name Chimay in hushed reverential tones, like death metal-heads do with the names Åkerfelt, Schuldiner, and Lindberg.  I could drink this all day long, but I have another Chimay beer to review.

S:  4.5  A:  4.5  T:  4.75  F:  4.5  O:  4.5

Suggested food pairing:  sharp cheddar, lemon-seasoned chicken, summer salads, lemon squares or fruit tart

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