BEER AND CHEESE TASTING WITH CHIMAY

Chimay Belgium

Does beer actually go with cheese?  That was my first thought when I received an invitation from Belgian Beer and Food Magazine to attend a tasting with Chimay.

It was a special event for Women and Beer and when I arrived at Monk, our venue for the evening, I was delighted to see a great mix of food bloggers from Brussels.

Chimay is a Trappist beer and if you’re wondering what the hell that means, then don’t worry, I’m going to explain.

On the border of Belgium and France, strangely enough in a village called Chimay,  you will find Scourmont Abbey and in that Abbey you will find some Trappist Monks and it is those Monks who make the beer (and have been since 1863) and cheese.

There are several Trappist Monasteries (most of which are in Belgium) whose Monks produce beer, hence the term Trappist Beer.

Back to the tasting…

We tried three different Chimay Beers; The red, the blue and the white or Triple AND their corresponding cheeses. I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t like the beers, (based on the fact that a Budweiser is about as exotic as I get beer wise) but they were all delicious.

And this is point where I realise that beer blogging is HARD, mainly because I don’t have the vocabulary to describe them. They tasted like beer,  strong beer, they all had much more taste than the aforementioned bottle of Bud.

The Chimay Blue is definitely the sweeter of the three and the Triple was the freshest and easiest to drink. I can definitely see me drinking a lot of the Triple – I’ve already bought a few bottles from the supermarket.

Let’s talk cheese:

I bloody love cheese, seriously if I could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be cheese (which would probably shorten my life expectancy somewhat, but who cares it would be worth it) if I’ve cooked something (especially when I’m trying out new recipes) and it doesn’t taste like I thought it would, or if it’s just not nice, then I’ll just cover it in a tonne of cheese – fixes it every time!

There are six Chimay cheeses, I’ve  tried three of them and they are all different and very tasty.

  • Chimay Grand Classique  tastes ever so slightly nutty.  It is really creamy, so I think it will go well with pretty much anything.   I’m especially looking forward to eating this in a cheese toastie. I would say this is suitable for everyone to try, even if you’re not really into your strong cheeses.
  • Chimay A La Rouge is actually washed several times in the Chimay Rouge beer, so it does indeed taste ever of subtley of beer. This gives it a really distinctive flavour and even though I was very happy eating straight slices of it, I think this would be a great cheese for cooking with.  This cheese would make macaroni cheese truly special.
  • Chimay A La Bleue was my absolute favourite of the three, it also had the strongest flavour (so no surprises there then really), it is much softer than the other three and like the Rouge has been washed in the Bleue beer. This is the one I would have on crackers with a little dollop of tomato and onion chutney.

So I know what you’re dying to know; does cheese go with well beer and the answer is – YES!

It probably doesn’t take a genius to work out what we put together… the rouge with the rouge, the bleue with the bleue which left the Grand Classique with the Triple.   They really complemented each other, with each cheese making the corresponding beer much less bitter, as well as actually bringing out the flavours of the cheese and beer at the same time – does that make sense?

The cheese also cleanses the palette much better than wine does, so it means each sip of beer you take, actually tastes really fresh.  We sat eating cheese, drinking beer and chatting for a good couple of hours and I would have been happy to continue for a couple more.

Have you tried putting beer and cheese together?

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