17. Chimay Rouge

Having enjoyed Chimay Bleue quite so much, I was keen to crack on with trying the other two Chimays in The Book, the Rouge and the Blanche.

The latter two seem to be harder to get hold of, but a lunch hour stroll to the City Beverage Company was all it took to get my hands on this, the weakest—well, least strong—of the trio, weighing in at a mere 7% ABV.


Chimay Rouge pours somewhat less dark than the Bleue, which is to say that light may actually penetrate it. It’s still a very dark, very hazy brownish colour, with a smallish off-white head that dissipates to a fine beige lacing quite promptly.

To taste, the Rouge has a noticeably lighter body than the Bleue, with more of a vinous, wine-like finish. There is also more hoppy bitterness, and a warming booziness that reminds you that if you weren’t comparing it to the 9.0% Bleue, this would be considered a very strong beer.

There isn’t the sheer luxury here that the Bleue affords, though, and the Bleue remains my favourite.

I’m aware that I’m making the Rouge sounds like a poor second-best by constantly comparing it to the Bleue, which isn’t really fair, since it’s still a genuinely good beer. It’ll be very interesting to see where the 8% Blanche fits in to the range. I feel a walk up to Old Street coming on…

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Bières de Chimay S.A., Baileux, Belgium
Style: Trappist Beers
Strength: 7.0% ABV
Found at: City Beverage Company, Old Street, London EC1
Serving: 330ml Bottle

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