In addition to my visit to Brussels and Brugge in Belgium, I made a visit to the cities to my beloved namesake beers: Rochefort, Orval and Chimay, to learn more about the world of trappist beers.
In this post I’ll talk about Chimay.
My initial plans were to also visit the Abbey of Saint Sixtus, which makes Westvleteren, but I think you have read about my failed attempt.
I rented a car in Brussels and made the trip to all the abbeys on the same day. It’s easy to do everything in one day, and from what I can see, there is not much to do in these cities apart visiting the monastery / brewery / pub.
All of them are set in remote areas, almost rural, so do not expect to get there by public transport easily.
Rent a car with GPS and be happy.
My itinerary was:
1 – From Brussels to Rochefort
2 – From Rochefort to Orval
3 – From Orval to Chimay
4 – From Chimay to Brussels
I chose this route mainly because all these cities stand in southern Belgium, and it is easier to do everything in one day.
Arriving in Chimay
I left Orval feeling pretty good, it was really wonderful, but one more surprise was to come … a visit to the famous Auberge de Poteaupré in the town of Chimay.
Deck inside the bar
The Auberge de Poteaupré is a bar/restaurant/hotel that is maintained by Chimay, where they offer all its products, including cheese, beer and meals.
I wanted to visit the abbey itself, but as they informed me, it was not possible.
I have already mentioned in another post about the beers of Chimay, they have three main beers:
Chimay Première (Rouge) – Dubbel style beer with an alcohol content of 7%
Chimay Cinq Cents (White) – Tripel style beer with an alcohol content of 8%
Chimay Grande Reserve (Bleue) – Dark Strong Ale style with an alcohol content of at 9%
However, inside the pub is possible to drink a forth beer that is only available on tap there, the Spéciale Poteaupré.
To try this one, only going there!
Unfortunately, this beer does not feature the same line of the other Chimay beers, it is a little softer and lighter in body, but it’s still a good beer.
It is a pale ale, with an alcohol content of 4.8%.
At the menu you can choose different kinds of pleasures, like a “tower tasting” of all beers, specialty cheeses, desserts and the main courses.
While I was excited with the options in the menu, I started taking pictures of all pages and a very polite lady came talking in a language I did not understand, was not English nor French, apparently was Flemish. After about five minutes, she pointed me to a place on the menu that was written in French: “If you want to, take this menu as a souvenir of your visit.”
All this time she was trying to say something like, “Hey pal, stop taking photos of the menu, it is a souvenir!”
So, I took this beautiful souvenir as a memento of the visit.
Click here to see the latest version of the menu that they have available online.
Take a look at the promotional video of the place
Following the tradition of other Trappist monasteries, Chimay has five types of cheeses to pair with their beers.
They offer a tasting table with all the cheese in the house. The last cheese of the photo below is in my opinion the best one, is a long time matured cheese, very strong with almond tones, pairs perfectly with a Chimay Grande Reserve.
Tasting table of the trappist cheese
Promotional poster of the Capitale Du Fromage
Meals are great, they have snacks, sandwiches and more refined main courses.
I got a steak with Chimay bleue sauce and french fries
Roberta got a mix table with cheese, quiche, croquette and smoked ham
The view is a show piece, in the outside, you bump into an open area with many trees, very green and cows everywhere. The typical place where you arrive at 12:00 and goes until midnight, eating good food, drinking the best beers in the world, eating desserts and getting to know people.
The view from inside
A video outside
That was how I finished my tour for three Trappist abbeys, Rochefort, Orval and Chimay.
Too bad I didn’t have time to visit all but certainly soon I’ll make a visit the other Trappist monasteries: Achel, Koningshoeven (La Trappe), Westvleteren and Achel.
I met monks, visited monasteries, breweries and ruins, I experienced the hospitality of southern Belgium and I could still drive 600km in one sunny day, with a landscape full of windmills, cows and vast green fields, where there is no pollution, traffic or noise.
Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or not, this is something that marks you for life.
Saying goodbye to my Trappist day: slightly drunk but completely happy 🙂