Last Thursday night I attended a special Chimay dinner at The Tasting Room in Houston. It was one of the dinners listed on the Texas Beerfest website and I knew it was the one I wanted to attend.
The back room at the restaurant was very nice – a large table, surrounded by a towering wine library. The best part of the room is that it is soundproofed. Once the heavy doors were closed, it was as quiet as a library in there, which was wonderful as we listened to Bobo the Brand Ambassador narrate a wonderful history of the Trappist monks and their fine beers.
You can ready more about Trappist beers on the Chimay website and on Wikipedia, but here’s a quick history:
- There are only seven Trappist beers in the world.
- To be considered a Trappist beer, it must be brewed by Trappist Monks inside the walls of the monestary.
- 90% of revenue is used to serve the community.
- With ten Trappist monestaries in the United States, we’re likely to have the first American Trappist beer sometime in the next decade.
- The monks mostly drink the Red Label, which they refer to as liquid bread. It is hearty enough to live on.
We started the evening with the Chimay White, a Tripel. It was refreshing and a nice pairing with the first course of our meal, which consisted of mussels and soda bread.
Next up was the Red Label, a Dubbel, paired with a wonderful plate of fried green tomatoes with a creamy crawfish topping. I’m not a huge fan of fried green tomatoes, but these crawfish were wonderful, and it was a very nice combination. I’ll be trying this one at home.
Finally, the blue label special reserve with braised pork belly and butter polenta. Wow. The pork fell apart when touched with a fork, and tasted amazing. If you ever visit the Tasting Room, and this is on the menu, go for it! Of course, the Chimay Blue is my favorite, and it was very well matched with the pork belly.
The dinner was scheduled from 7-9pm, but we didn’t leave until 11. There were two buckets of Chimay bottles along the window to be split amongst twelve of us. When we finished that stock, more were ordered from the back. We literally cleaned them out of the Blue Label while enjoying more tales from Bobo and his history of beer.
I received some wonderful insight into the world of quality beer and the way it is distributed here in the States. I also learned about several other beers I’m anxious to try, recommended by both guests and our gracious host. Bobo was a quite funny and very knowledgeable, and I look forward to seeing him again soon, in Austin or back here in Houston.
Thanks again to Texas Beerfest for spreading the word. I had a wonderful evening.
Oh, and as a bonus, I also came away with these treasures:
- Two 8 oz Chimay glasses
- One 12 oz Chimay glass
- One Chimay beer tin.
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