Cellaring Beers: Chimay Speciale Cent Cinquante. Abbey de Scourmont, Chimay, Belgium At Six Years From our “Vault”
Date: February 28, 2018
The Story— We’re not sure how this beer slipped through our drinking fingers when we bought it fresh in 2013, but maybe that’s OK anyway. Trappist Belgian ales cellar well — the big ones, we were told at the brewery to lay down their dubbel for five years. We assume they planned on people cellaring this special edition of this iconic beer. We think it was something of a one off and not a relabeling.
Father Robert, who was at the time the number two monk at the brewery, took us on a several hours tour of the brewery and the bottling and cheese making facility down the road. We’ve never forgotten his wisdom in summarizing what almost every brewery of any faith- or no faith at all– has encompassed: “Our purpose is to take the gifts from God and make them useful to man.” Thank you Father Robert. Thank you God.
And on a side note– one of my favorite stories of the French Revolution involves Chimay. At the height of the terror of the French Revolution, Robespierre imprisoned the mistress (later wife) of Jean Lambert Tallien, one of the legislative leaders of the assembly that authorized the Terror. She apparently wrote him a letter accusing him of cowardice in yielding to Robespierre’s bloody campaign. Fighting tears the next day, Tallien rose and condemned Robespierre and he was followed by numerous others. Robespierre went to the guillotine the next day and Mme. Tallien, now known as the Grand Dame of Thermidor, went on to become Princess of Chimay.
The Beer— At six years it’s lost the sparkling brightness of the Chimay White Label– if this edition ever had the same level of carbonation. It still shows the tasty smooth, but gently spicy depth and complexity that has made Chimay famous far from its monastery complex. Just a bit of heat late attests to its strength. .
Value — good to very good. No one sells a beer like this cheap, but if you’re employed, this is why you work.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.