Chimay: Doree (Belgium: Belgian Ale: 4.8% ABV)
Visual: Hazy overripe banana skin. High carbonation and an off white thin head.
Nose: Orange peel. Dry mead. Shortbread and digestives. Funky yeast. Lightly milky. Cinnamon. Fresh cut apples and light lemon character.
Body: Sweet orange. Crisp hop character and moderate bitterness. Bready character. Banana sweets. Blackpool rock. Greenery. Coriander and carrot. Brown sugar.
Finish: Honey. Cinnamon. Banana. Brown bread. Minty.
Conclusion: I’m glad I came to this later in my beer drinking life. Back when I first encountered Trappist ales I was of the mindset that bigger was way better for me. Even the quality Orval seemed a but of a let down compared to its dubbel to quad brethren, I think back then I would not have appreciated this.
This is a very balanced and drinkable brew – with a restrained sweet base that feels like dry honey, speckled with occasional bursts of cane sugar styling. Those bursts allow it to push past the bready crisp hop character that is the mainstay of the beer. It doesn’t taste like a big beer, but neither does if feel the need to hide its light under a bushel. Despite the easier drinking character there is a lot going on, greenery and mint notes and light fruity esters.
It doesn’t feel challenging, it slips down easily. Though if you let it slip down you end up only really experiencing the thirst quenching bitter hop character. If you hold the beer then that is when the sweetness rises. Character wise it actually reminds me of the hoppier end of the saison market.
It is very drinkable, the only real flaws are that the crisp hop character does become slightly leaden by the end of the beer, and that as you get used to the base beer the middle of it can end up feeling slightly empty when compared to the top and tail. A pity as it was otherwise setting up to be the trappist abv equivalent of a session beer. Even with that slight flaw this proves a lovely easy going beer that you can break open with a meal or just for a relax with friends.
Background: Ohh, fun. This is only just available in the UK to my knowledge. For ages this was the beer that was available for drinking to the monks of the abbey. Over the years it has slowly got more available, being served on tap in Belgium, and then bottled, then finally turning up here in the UK. I saw it at Independent Spirit and grabbed it as quick as I could. Drunk while listening to some Propagandhi. No reason. Just like them.