Well, the Be Our Guest restaurant is now open in new Fantasyland and many of you have probably already experienced it. Alas, Estelle and I have not. We’ve heard that the gray stuff is, indeed, delicious, and the split quick-service lunch and full-service dinner makes for some interesting culinary experiences. Since we won’t be able to dine there ourselves anytime soon, however, I decided to do another beer review from their surprisingly tasteful selection. If you haven’t read my review of Saison Du Pont yet, you can check it out here. Today, we’re going to be looking at a unique beer made by unique brewers in an unique place.
High up in the mountains of Belgium, hooded monks scratch ancient brewing recipes onto parchment by candlelight, as they whisper solemn incantations into oaken barrels of fermented yeast….
Well, not really.
Yes, Chimay Blue is made by monks in a monastery in Belgium, but I’m sure it’s not as cool as I made it sound right there. It’s probably a lot like most other medium-sized craft breweries. Having never been there, I can’t say for sure, but Chimay has built up a sizable reputation amongst beer aficionados as being a truly outstanding brewery. Check out the Beer Advocate entry here if you don’t believe me.
Chimay is one of six recognized Trappist breweries in the world, based on the fact that their beer is brewed inside a Trappist monastery. The Chimay website has plenty of interesting information on their history, which you can find here. Needless to say, Chimay’s beers are a rare style that is often imitated and never replicated.
The blue bottle, formally known as Grande Reserve, was first brewed in 1948 as a Christmas beer. Fittingly enough, Estelle and I enjoyed it during the holiday season and as soon as you pop the cork and take a whiff of the beer inside, you can tell it’s a Christmas beer. The head is very thick and foamy, as you can tell from the pictures, and showed great lacing on the glass. It has a strong, dark and fragrant aroma consisting mostly of fruit, bread, and just general thickness. There is a faint hint of raisins and dates up front with a malty/yeasty aftertaste. It’s warming and filling and seems to go straight to your head – a truly wonderful Christmas beer.
The more I think about it, the more I think that Be Our Guest has a different beer for pretty much every season (as much as Orlando can be said to have four distinct seasons). The Saison Du Pont is a wonderfully light yet crisp spring or summer beer; Hoegaarden is what it is (Blue Moon before there was Blue Moon) and lends well to spring drinking; and Kronenbourg…well, I guess you could drink that anytime if you really wanted to. The Chimay Blue, however, fits very nicely into that cold-weather slot. Looking at the Be Our Guest dinner menu (available here), I think that every entree option would go very well with a Chimay Blue (especially the grilled strip steak…drool).
Overall, Disney outdid themselves with their beer selections at Be Our Guest. The worst beer on their list would still be one of the better beers at any large chain restaurant, and the Saison Du Pont and Chimay Blue are truly excellent (and classy) additions to the uncharted territory that is alcohol in the Magic Kingdom.