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Belgium

Beers we have hated

chimaytripel

The first time we had Chimay Tripel was on a trip to Brussells in around 2004. We were interested in beer, but not yet obsessed, and ended up in the Leffe Cafe because it was the only place that we stumbled on that looked vaguely welcoming.

We worked our way through the menu, trying such exciting beers as Stella Artois and Leffe Brune, before getting to the Chimay. We knew it was supposed to be something special, so had high hopes for a transcendent moment.

And we hated it. We found it literally undrinkable. It tasted of nothing but alcohol, and smelled like lighter fluid. It made our eyes sting. How could people enjoy beer that strong!?

For some years, the idea lingered in our minds that it was foul. Fortunately, we did give it another go, and learned an important lesson: our tastes can and do change over time.

14 replies on “Beers we have hated”

I can’t believe people think that garbage Stella Artois is good beer. It’s a mixture of Bud Light and Natural Ice and completely, utterly disgusting in my book. I’m glad you reconsidered trying Chimay, truly one of the great beers of the world.

Chimay in the same sentence with alcohol and lighter fluid somehow makes me want to go buy some Chimay right now! Though I am more a fan of the Red or Blue than the White.

I remember I hated the first weizenbier I drunk. I thought it was awful!

It had cost me quite a bit of money (I was still living in Argentina) so it was very painful to pour it down the drain…

Despite my best efforts I have never managed to enjoy any Rauchbier. Hopefully one day my taste buds will evolve and allow me to appreciate the style.

Tip for improving Stella: have it poured by the barman and then ask for a clean glass. Pour it into the clean glass and drink. The loss of carbonation will make it less bad, and the expression on the barman’s face will make it all worthwhile!

First time I ever had Chimay Bleu was in Brussels, at the Cafe La Fourmiliere on Place Rouppe. Not my favourite town, but that’s now one of my favourite beers. The bar was fantastic, too. A real time warp. I think it’s recently been turned into an ironic restaurant or something.

The first time I had Orval. Did not hate but did not really like very much. I was already familiar with Chimay and some of the most common belgian ales (Leffe, Grimbergen, Hoegaarden, La Trappe), which I liked. But that funky / “bretty” touch in the Orval was a bit off for me, as it made Orval quite different from what I considered beer to be back then. Today, I wish that funky side to Orval was a bit more evident. In my opinion (and I don’t think my taste’s evolution is the only one to blame…), it has waned lately.

Chap and Jon — here’s Pete Brown on the devolution of Stella. EDIT: now with added link!

Keith — hello again! Red is my favourite. A good, solid Belgian beer for any occasion.

Beertruck — we’ve only really recently started to appreciate Orval and, even now, it’s not one of our favourites. Seems to need to be aged, and certainly can’t be too cold, or it tastes very boring.

Andy — as I’ve said before elsewhere, rauchbier is the definition of an acquired taste, although if you haven’ acquired it yet, maybe you never will. Shame. Have you tried the Schlenkerla Helles? (If you’re the Andy who sells it, this is a daft question.) Very mildly smoky.

In a similar vein, I’ve often made tasting notes for a beer, been a bit lazy about posting the review, then had another in the meantime and got a lot more from it the second time round, which helps me get a fuller profile. Maybe my tongue is slow to wake up at times!

Leigh — I think there’s something very healthy in being able to admit that beer tasting (or tasting anything for that matter) is very subjective. Beer can taste different depending on what you’ve eaten, the weather, the glass it’s served in, how it’s been stored…

Beers we have hated ? When I was a boy (c1979), Fullers ESB was the strongest regularly brewed beer in the country and (IMHO) tasted of soap powder. Now I love its blend of fruit and bitterness – but what happend to the soapiness ?

Hmm. I used to find coriander leaves inedible because they tasted of soap; and couldn’t drink Earl Grey tea for the same reason. Now, neither taste remotely like soap to me. Maybe it’s a range of flavours the tastebuds need to get used to?

I’m less Catholic in my tastes than I used to be. My recent visit to the GBBF resulted in lots of negative comparisons with more mainstream beers I know I like.

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