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What should we brew for Xmas?

Chimay Grand Classique Cheese + Chimay Grand Reserve 2011

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chimay cheeseThanks to our friend Matt Bollerman and a trip to the cheese counter at Whole Foods, we recently found ourselves in possession of both a bottle of Chimay Grand Reserve from 2011 and a portion of Chimay Grand Classique Cheese, hopefully not with quite as much age on it. We had been saving the bottle for a special occasion, and once the cheese found it’s way into our shopping cart we knew this pairing was what we were waiting for. It did however lead us to ponder the fact that it seems like many cheeses are now made with beer, but we have yet to see a beer made with cheese. Do you think we may be onto something, Long Island breweries? Yeah, probably not, but if we see any gorgonzola IPAs floating around this summer we want some credit.

Chimay beer and cheese are produced by monks at the Notre-Dame de Scourmont Abbey in Belgium, making them both Trappist products. The cheese itself is a semi soft cows milk cheese with a harder rind that is regularly washed with Chimay beer. Upon removing it from the package and slicing off a wedge, the cheese was much firmer than we expected. The rind takes a bit of work to get through and the body of the cheese is definitely on the soft side, though not to the point of being spreadable. You are immediately hit with a strong, pungent aroma before even slicing into the cheese and it only becomes more intense when cut. This led us to expect the taste to be really “stinky” for lack of a more technical term, but once again we were thrown a curveball. Though the scent is strong, the taste itself is much more mellow and mild with hints of creamy sweetness throughout. Overall, there is a smooth and pleasant buttery taste that finishes with a few sharp, ashy notes to balance out the bite.

chimay package

chimay rind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found the Chimay Grand Reserve to be sweet and malty with prevalent notes of dates and raisin. There is a definite warming alcohol presence that intensifies throughout the sip, finishing on a slightly bitter note. Look for a full review coming soon, but for now the cheese is the star of this show. The two paired well together, but in a unique, complimentary way and neither really stole the spotlight. The slight bitterness in the cheese does bring out a bit more of the fruity, candy-like sweetness in the beer but it is not an overwhelming shift like some food pairings provide. Instead of altering the cheese, or vice versa, these two items really just play off each other well without changing the taste outcome much. This could be because they both share a common ingredient, Chimay beer, which ties them together almost flawlessly. Though tasting the two together does not bring out any wild flavors lurking under the surface, this is a sold and enjoyable pairing and we would highly recommend enjoying these items together.

chimay cheese plate

Written by A+K

March 31st, 2014 at 8:15 am

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