Drawing on traditions passed down from the ancient Sumerians, the Egyptians and the medieval Germans, Belgian Trappist monks have long been brewing some of the world’s tastiest ales.
And perhaps the most famous of those ales are those crafted by the monks at a little Belgian abbey known as the Notre-Dame de Scourmont.
Their beer, of course, comes to the market under the imprint we know as Chimay.
Of the three different styles they produce (they actually produce a fourth that they make only for themselves), we decided to go with Chimay Blue, a dense, creamy and slightly peppery ale that packs one heckuva kick (it’s got an ABV content of 9 percent).
Made with well water inside the abbey, the monks brew and ferment the ale on-site, then ship it to a bottling plant, where it’s poured into stubby, little bullet bottles and fermented again for nearly a month before it’s finally shipped all over the world.
In true Trappist tradition, the monks, who have vowed themselves to a life of simplicity, use a small amount of their profits to maintain the abbey. But the rest, they give away to countless charities.
Served in a snifter so that the ale can properly breathe, this tasty beer won’t just make you feel good (that 9 percent ABV is nothing to sneeze at), it’ll make you feel good, knowing that the money you spend on it is going to help those from whom a good glass of beer is but a luxury.