For the last few days, we’ve been seeing advertisements for Ciney beers, which we’d never heard of before. The astounding thing is that Ciney have completely borrowed Chimay’s logo and typeface. What’s more, even though they’re not a Trappist or even an abbey brewery, they’ve stuck a church spire in their logo to give that impression. In fact, they’re owned by the huge Alken-Maes Group.
So we assumed they’d be, at best, clones of the Chimay beers and, at worst, horrid.
When we found ourselves this afternoon in the legendary bar “A La Morte Subite” and noticed that the menu had a full range of both Ciney and Chimay beers, we thought we’d compare them. We ordered them in pairs — Ciney Brune with Chimay Rouge; Ciney Blonde with Chimay Triple.
And do you know what? They were not at all similar. Ciney’s beers are characterised by an underlying sourness. They smell sour — fruity sour — and taste slightly less so. Both the brune and the blonde are excellent, but the brune was the real stand out. It’s rich and full of flavour, but not heavy. If you see it, give it a go.
Few of you need us to tell you about Chimay. Suffice to say, they were also great.
To follow in the next few days:
- Restobieres — “No soup for you!”
- Chez Moeder Lambic
- Westvleteren — easier to find than we expected… but is it real?
- Deus — posh, expensive, but is it any good?
- “Fake English”: Belgian attempts to “do” English beer
- Cantillon brewery (if we get up in time tomorrow…)