Chimay Rouge Premiere
The blurb says: ‘This top fermented Trappist beer, refermented in the bottle, is not pasturised.’
A little while ago I came across the entire Chimay range after having read ‘The Brewmasters Table’ (Garrett Oliver) which recommended trying any of the genuine Trappist beers in order to understand the influence that it has had on brewing in Belgium and beyond. Oliver also goes on to explain in great detail about the heavenly bliss that you encounter combining the Chimay red with a simple duck dish. As a result when my wife came home with the ingredients for a duck in mango sauce with fresh greens and duck fat potatoes I became very excited and I just knew that the time was right to crack open a bottle!
The very first thing I notice was the colour, I have never in my life seen such a beautiful beer, the russet brown liquid seemed to glow from within with it own luminesance and it is capped with the most wonderful head of foam. The aromatics were a wonderful restrained mixture of black currents, malts and spicy yeast. It is a medium bodied beer with nice carbonation, but what makes this beer stand out for me was the flavour balance, you can really tell that the monks have had centuries to perfect this beer. The flavours are exactly what the aroma suggest with malts and dark dried fruits making sweet love on the tongue at the start and moving to a beautiful climax of well balanced bitterness and spicy yeast.
Verdict: 4/5on its own, 5/5 with the recipe below
This beer is wonderful, I am going to go back and get some more to have on hand as gifts because something this good needs to be shared!
On a related note this beer with the below recipe is bliss, the carbonation lifts the duck fat from the tongue and refreshes the palate making each mouthful as magical as the first. The dark fruit and sweet malt flavours also combine beautifully with the crispy skin making you wish that this is a meal that can last forever.
Duck in Mango sauce (serves 2)
2 Duck Breasts (make sure to remove from fridge 30mins before cooking to allow it to be room temp before cooking)
1 Mango (peeled and diced into cubes)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon Blueberry Vinegar
2 medium - large potatoes (peeled and chopped evenly)
Seasonal Greens (e.g. broccolini, asparagus etc.)
1. Start boiling the potatoes with a bit of salt until almost completely cooked
2. With a sharp knife score the fat on the duck then place skin side down in a frying pan over a low to medium heat for about 5 mins or until fat is rendered and skin is crispy. Turn duck over and fry for about another 3 mins. Once fried drain fat from pan and reserve, place the duck in an oven at 160C skin side up for a further 10 min. Remove duck from oven and rest, lightly covered with aluminium foil for 5 - 10 mins
3. Meanwhile melt the butter in another pan, add the chicken stock and mango, stir whilst frying for a few minutes until mango begins to caramalise. De glaze the pan with the vinegar and remove from the heat.
4. Drain the potatoes and toss in the sieve to fluff up the edges of the potato (this makes it ridiculously easy to get the potatoes crispy). Fry the potatoes in the reserved duck fat until golden and crunchy.
5. Dish up and serve with a bottle of Dubbel for an orgasmic experience.
Notes: Other fruits can be used in this recipe, if using tart fruits put a bit of sugar in the sauce. If there is any juices left over after frying the potatoes then add it to the sauce.
The Crippled Brewer
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