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Chimay is Belgian for Expensive

One more tale from the weekend. Last weekend. (Real-time blogging this ain’t.) This is about beer, which has become one of my favorite subjects in the last few years.

I’ve seen Chimay beer offered at various places, and I’ve always been curious about it, simply because it’s so expensive. Last Friday, we had dinner at Shanachie, an Irish pub in Ambler run by singer Gerry Timlin. We were feeling expansive on our big night out (earlier we had caught a set by Overunderground at the Brew Ha Ha), so we split a Chimay. According to, there is more than one “Chimay.” I’m not sure exactly what we got, but I think it was called Grand Reserve, and it came in a large bottle (750-ml?), so one was enough for both of us. It tasted just like Guinness to me (which I love), only more expensive. I don’t have the palate, the experience, or the vocabulary to draw any more comparisons than that. Did I mention it was expensive? It must be good, then.

The highlight of the meal wasn’t the beer or the food or even the live Irish music, but an encounter with the charming Mr. Timlin himelf. He drew a bead on me from across the room and swooped down, exclaiming, “I like your haircut!” referring to nothing more than our shared male-pattern baldness and beard. We do look a lot alike (see his picture at, enough so that people at the next table wondered if we were brothers. I can add Gerry to the short list of celebrities I resemble (at least superficially), which includes Leonard Maltin (the movie reviewer) and local DJ John Harvey.

Sorry for that digression; back to beer. Chimay Blanche made Forbes’ list of the the 20 coolest beers. There are a few on that list I’m interested in trying. What can I say. I like lists.


I love Chimay Blue and, since discovering the brew on a European vacation (that has resulted in serious blackmail material for most of my friends) have been willing to pay the price for it. I didn't get a chance to try the blanche until a business trip to Brussels last year - it's actually pretty good. I can't say I care for their other brews too much (especially not the red, which is more readily available in this area than the blue or blanche). Using a chambord shaped glass does make a difference in taste - for the better (this is how it's served in Europe and by folks who know a heckuvalot more about fine beers than I). Just remember, never drink it from the bottle!

I've always resisted the urge to try the Belgians too. Still haven't had a Chimay. I did have 2 glasses of the Flying Fish [Delaware] Belgian Style Dubbel which was quite nice and I'm told it's a decent substitute for the real thing.

Re: the Forbes list - Boddingtons has been one of my favorite beers for some time now. It's an easy drink, a light Guinness. And I just discovered the Spaten Optamator last week and good god is it good. They have it on tap at Ludwigs Garten where they have some ot the best brews in town [even though I do hate me some hefe weisse]. The food there is good too. I was surprised at how many of the beers on the list I've had and for the most part enjoyed.

I live too close to the Beerery, err, I mean the Foodery, to not give it a try sometime soon. I've been gettiing more into the beer as I get older. And re: Ludwigs - LOVE Ludwigs, both the food and the beer!!! Have to see if they still serve the 7 oz. samplers....

Pammianne, I think our beer was a blue. While our Chimay wasn’t served in a beautiful glass, at least it was in a glass!
Albert and Ellen, I think I need to take a road trip to Ludwig’s Garten soon. By the way, a friend at work considers hefe weisse his favorite—but he’s German. I’ve never had one. Both Spatens sound interesting to me.

I love the spaten optimator. Ever since I discovered it at Ludwigs that's all I order (hey, i tend to stick to things i like) but it's definitely the chimay what I tend to order over at Monks...
Has anyone heard of Elephant? I believe it's german. it's good too.

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