Designer beer, session beer and Chimay

Chimay beer in a glass.

Here are some bits and pieces we spotted around and about in the last few days.

1. We think we’ve worked out when Trappist beer first landed in the UK. A chain of off-licences called Arthur Rackham began importing Chimay (probably Rouge) in 1974, perhaps in the wake of the 1974 World Beer Festival at Olympia in London. It first showed up at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival in 1979. Anyone know otherwise?

2. Here’s another definition of session beer for you to chew on, from Tim Webb and Joris Pattyn’s 10o Belgian Beers to Try Before You Die:

Surprisingly, it makes a great session beer. Just as you think its bitterness will be too much, it proves it can tempt you to one more.

Beer you want to drink a lot of rather than beer it’s easy to drink in quantity… that’s a thought.

3. We’d forgotten the term ‘designer beer‘ until we came across a 1991 Daily Mirror article on the then hot trend in ‘boozy fashion accessories’. Typical designer beers, it suggests, are Brahma (favoured by Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!), Dos Equis (David Bowie), Sapporo (Jason Donovan) and Peroni (Tina Turner). Chimay Blue also gets a mention, alongside a peach beer from Belgium which was supposed to have aphrodisiac qualities.

13 replies on “Designer beer, session beer and Chimay”

Well, come to think of it, a “session” doesn’t necessarily need to be drinking a considerable volume of beer, it could also be seen as “drinking beer (in a social environment) for a more or less considerable length of time”. Whether you knock down six pints or just just a bottle of a 10+%ABV beer (as long as you are not taking tastings notes of it, he!) is, by and large, irrelevant.

That said, I also see “session beer” as something I can drink a considerable volume of without getting leglesss (or at least, without getting legless too fast), as well as a beer that would not overwhelm my taste buds after half a glass, or something (i.e. beers made for drinking and not for tasting)

I’d forgotten Dos Equis, and I’d completely forgotten that it was once cool.

Beer you want to drink a lot of rather than beer it’s easy to drink in quantity… that’s a thought.

In these multi-beer times, perhaps the definition would be “beer you want to stay on”.

In these times where such a wide gamut of pricing exists, perhaps a session beer is one you can afford (or justify) to spend a night on.

The voices in my head tell me to go to the pub but they become frustratingly silent once I arrive.

I’ve never been keen on the term “designer”. To me it conjures up over-hyped and over-priced fashion accessories, worn or used by people who think its cool to advertise someone else’s name for free. If we want to take this to the limit, let’s not forget that the fashion house, Hugo Boss, designed the uniforms for the SS during World War II. Stylish perhaps, but worn by a particularly sinister and despicable group of people!

Looking on the lighter side for a minute, would anyone with even the remotest hint of self respect, want to be seen drinking a beer favoured by Andrew Ridgeley of Wham? Mind you, I wonder where the Daily Mirror got its information from. Was it cool to be seen drinking ANY beer back in 1991?

My memory isn’t all it should be, especially after a hefty and well-lubricated lunch celebrating our son’s 21st birthday. However, was the 1979 Great British Beer Festival the one that took place under canvas, following the fire that razed Alexandra Palace to the ground? If so it was where I sampled my first Belgian beer; it wasn’t Chimay, but a Kriek and it was NOT to my taste at the time!

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