No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

Chimay cheese: it's all about taste, character and tradition

Email  •  Print

Published: 2014-10-30 13:02:04 +0100 / Last Updated: 3 months ago

Chimay cheese Chimay cheeses

CHIMAY - If you have a good product, there is no need to shout it from the rooftops, it will speak for itself. The Chimay Trappist beers travel around the world and are enjoyed everywhere they go. Chimay à la Bleue Chimay (à la) Bleue
© Chimay
Chimay is a by-word for putting quality first, and this approach applies equally to the famous beers and the cheeses produced by this abbey.

Taste the beer and you’ll want to try the cheese. Have a bite of the cheese and you want to drink the… Exactly! It’s not particularly surprising that these brothers are born for each other. But why not prove it for yourself? Nothing could be easier. Load your cheese board with one of the Chimay cheeses and enjoy them alongside the accompanying beers.

If you are following the advice of the cheese affineur, you will opt for a modest cheese board of at least three but no more than six cheeses. Serve them with a neutral bread baked with spelt or sourdough, and some butter for those that want it. There is really no need for embellishments.

All these nuts, raisins or grapes you often see on a cheese board only detract from the pure taste of the cheese. All you need to refresh your palate is a gulp of the beer that goes with the cheese. Then, hey presto, you are ready to tackle the next round of cheese.

Chimay cheese, Chimay Vieux Chimay Vieux

A varied range...

Each Chimay cheese has its own taste and character. The range comprises soft, semi-hard and hard cheeses. For the best taste experience, start with a mild cheese and finish off with the most pronounced taste. Chimay Cheese, Chimay Rouge Chimay Rouge
© Chimay
For example, begin with the Chimay Doré, continue your journey with the Chimay A la Rouge, the Poteaupré, the Vieux Chimay and finish with the Chimay A la Bleue.

The good news is that you will always find a Chimay beer to suit a Chimay cheese. The abbey provides the ideal solution if you want to host a cheese and beer evening.

Chimay’s cheese master, Jean-Marie Boche, is strongly of the opinion that the Chimay cheeses beg to be paired with beer rather than wine at the table. Imagine a Vieux Chimay accompanied by a Chimay Triple.

“Even if you opt for a less mature Chimay cheese you will find a Chimay beer to suit,” Jean-Marie tells us. “Use your own personal taste as a guideline, but I advise, as a golden rule, that you should opt for a light beer, like a Chimay Doré, with a mild cheese like its namesake.

More complex and aromatic cheeses make a better pairing with stronger and more complex beers, the Chimay Bleu or Triple for example. At the end of the day, the beer is there to reinforce the taste of the cheese, leading to a successful taste experience. The cheese maker is looking for balance, just as the brewer is.

Chimay cheese, Chimay Ready to serve...
© Chimay

Introducing Chimay

As beer-and-cheese pairing has to be balanced. It is not always as easy as it sounds. If you have a well-hopped beer, how do you find a cheese that goes well with that? Here is a short introduction Chimay à la Bleue, Chimay cheese Chimay à la Bleue
to the cheeses and beers crafted by Chimay.

The soft Poteaupré cheese will surprise you with its aromas of malt and stone fruits such as peaches, apricots and cherries.

The fully-rounded taste of honey, stone fruits and nuts are accompanied with a slightly sour undercurrent.

The Chimay à la Bleue is also a soft cheese, rinsed in Chimay Bleue. It offers a strong aroma of beer and a pronounced taste of hop bitters and malt.

The semi-hard Chimay à la Rouge cheese, rinsed in Chimay Rouge, tastes of red Chimay, lightly roasted hops, caramel and stone fruits against a background of hop bitters.

The Chimay Doré, a semi-hard cheese, has subtle aromas of hops and herbs and the mild taste of beer with a hint of nuts and garden herbs. Finally, the hard Vieux Chimay is fragrant with mushrooms and apples, with a taste of stone fruits, nuts and hop. A nice and varied range of cheese but on the beer front, the brewery also offers you a choice of four – a beautiful quartet.

Chimay Cheese, Chimay Enjoying their rest

What about the beers?

The Chimay Rouge (7% ABV), the oldest beer brewed by the abbey, is a silky-smooth Trappist, copper-coloured, with slightly bitter impressions of nuts and a fruity aroma reminiscent of apricot. Chimay Triple Chimay Triple
© Chimay

The Chimay Bleu (9% ABV) - a beer made for laying down with its vintage displayed on the label - is a powerful, complex dark Trappist offering a bouquet of delicate herbs, roses and a trace of caramel.

The Chimay Triple (8% ABV) pairs a zesty, hoppy aroma with flavours of Muscat grapes, raisins and ripe apples. The finish is subtly bitter.

The light blonde Chimay Doré (4.8% ABV) shares its aromas of hops and herbs with the eponymous cheese.

How do you select the correct Chimay beer to accompany your Chimay cheese? It’s very simple really; just follow the colour coding.

The Chimay à la Bleue cheese is partnered with Chimay Bleu, the Chimay à la Rouge goes with Chimay Rouge, the Chimay Doré cheese is made for the Chimay Doré beer and the Vieux Chimay cheese is made for … Chimay Triple. That is a very simple, pure and authentic formula.

Nevertheless, everyone’s taste is different so feel free to experiment with new beer and cheese pairings to your heart’s content.

Chimay Cheese, Chimay The old cheese factory

Go for beer!!!

Why would you have a drink of beer with a bite of cheese? Well, the cheese, thanks to its creamy, fatty character, will cover the taste buds with a thin film. To open up the taste buds again you need a Chimay cheese, Chimay Chimay cheese board
© Chimay
drink that is slightly sour and bitter. Beer fits the bill perfectly with its bitter taste.

It also tends to be drunk in gulps rather than sips. This frees up the taste buds, and a chemical reaction between the beer and the cheese leads to a unique taste palette.

Last but not least, cheese is naturally complementary to beers in the sour, sweet and bitter (but not salt) taste spectrum.

“The taste of the beer has to flow harmoniously into that of the cheese you have chosen to go with it. And then, you cleanse the taste of the cheese from your mouth by having a drink of beer. The beer envelops the cheese and creates a harmonious taste experience,” Jean-Marie Boche, the Chimay cheese master, assures us.

More Information on Chimay

Bières et Fromages de Chimay
B-6460 Chimay


Recent Blog Posts

Trappist beer meets whisky, Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018
At the BeerLovers’ Café just behind Liège’s City Hall we get together to taste the limited edition Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018, a Trappist beer aged in whisky barrels. ... [ read more ]
Palm and Rodenbach - now under the banner of Swinkels Family Brewers
LIESHOUT/STEENHUFFEL - Since 2016 the Palm, De Hoorn and Rodenbach breweries have been owned by Bavaria, a Dutch-based brewer. Two years after the takeover, Bavaria has been re-named Swinkels Family ... [ read more ]
The Brewers Of Europe Forum 2018
BRUSSELS - To be authentic is not a competition and neither is it a fashionable attitude. You either are an authentic brewer or you are not. You are driven, you make great beers that have a soul, you ... [ read more ]
Zythos 2018. Watch out… there’s some heritage about!
LEUVEN - 12,500 fans made their way to Leuven for what was already the 15th edition of the Zythos beer festival. Many fans travelled a long way to get to Belgium. They flocked here from many European ... [ read more ]
Showcasing the Belgian art of living, Horecatel 2018
MARCHE-EN-FAMENNE - “Their cuisine is on a par with that of the French and the portions are generous...” When people discuss the Belgian art of living, it won’t be long before the term ‘Burgundian’ ... [ read more ]


You must be logged in to leave a comment



Trappist beer meets whisky, Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018

At the BeerLovers’ Café just behind Liège’s City Hall we get together to taste the limited edition Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018, a Trappist beer aged in whisky barrels. T... [ more ]

Beer cheeses - Hops and milk in perfect harmony

Beer and cheese are made for one another. This isn’t exactly a well-kept secret. Cheese provides tastes and aromas that are not found in beer, most notably salt, and thus, beer and cheese are complementary. ... [ more ]

Cheese and Beer - A Marriage Made in Heaven

BERCHEM - A store in Berchem near Antwerp has been crowned Best European Specialty Cheese Provider, according to the Wall Street Journal. It has the stellar performance of cheese affineurs Miche... [ more ]

Escavèche and Chimay

CHIMAY - I find myself in the green ‘boot of Hainaut’ just below Chimay. This is the region of escaveche, where you come across eel or trout pickled in vinegar. This dish, found on menus everywhere in the Chimay region, ... [ more ]

Erik's Highlights: The other Chimay

CHIMAY - The Chimay name has a resounding reputation in the beer world. This Trappist beer can now be found in 40 countries. The town itself, its surrounding region and the Trappist cheese are far less well known than <a... [ more ]


More Beer

Father Théodore was responsible for the re-start of the Chimay brewery after the Second World War. He worked with Professor De Clerck of Louvain University. Together, they managed ... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.