Beer of the Week is sponsored by the Lion & Rose. Each week, we introduce you to a wonderful brew that’s a little bit different and well worth seeking out.
Chimay Cinq Cents
Last week, we introduced you to the Belgian brew, Chimay Red Cap. We now move along to the Chimay Triple/Tripel/Trippel, which is also known as Chimay White,/Blanche or, as it is dubbed on the label of the 750-milliliter bottle, Cinq Cents.
So many names for something so wonderful. This is a truly outstanding brew that commands your attention.
It is the newest addition to the Chimay lineup, which means it dates back only to 1986, instead of the 1860s, which is when the first Chimays were introduced. That’s a little bit of difference, to be sure. But the Chimay Triple tastes to classical to be so modern; it is certainly worthy of standing next to, if not slightly above, it sister Chimays.
Open the bottle and take a sniff before pouring it out. You’ll get a strong hit of sweetness and fruit (banana, maybe a little lemon) that carry over as it goes into the glass, but then the aromas broaden to include a pleasantly funky yeastiness mixed with some spices, such as coriander and clove plus a slight bit of pepper. Hops add a distinct floral edge. In all, you get a lively yet balanced sense of sweet and bitter mingled in the glass.
The beer has a gorgeous golden color with a little sediment that settles. Pour it slowly, as a sturdy, yellow-tinged head of foam will form and settle for quite a while.
One taste will make you question whether you’re drinking a beer or a glass of Champagne. There’s an exceptionally fizzy quality to the feel it has on your tongue that delights. Orange, pear and biscuit flavors dance about with many of the foods you were reminded of when you took a good sniff: banana, clove, coriander, yeast and pepper.The finish is hoppy, dry and bitter, but, again, in a pleasant way.
But the layers of flavor you detect are nothing compared to the amazing way that the beer as a whole makes you feel. You know you’re in the presence of something special here, something that calms you down and lifts your spirits at the same time.
The late Michael Jackson (the beer and scotch writer, not the late singer), in his “Great Beer Guide,” said this magical brew had enough acidity “to stand up to the pickled trout dish escavëche, popular in the area” of Chimay, Belgium.
San Antonio’ answer to pickled fish, of course, is ceviche, and the two would go together beautifully. But I wouldn’t stop there. At the Lion & Rose, you could pair with the Highlands Salad, a mix of field greens with dried cranberries, currants, walnuts and sunflower seeds tossed with a tangerine vinaigrette. Or let it cut through the creamy Parmesan sauce on the Sundried Tomato and Chicken pasta dish, which also has spinach and garlic in the mix. It would even mix well with the Portobello Burger with its melted provolone, tomato and red onion on top.
Try the Chimay Triple with anything and be prepared for a real treat.