May 21, 2011 was Chimay Day in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Ok, they actually don’t have an “official” day for the City, but some friends of mine have started a tradition that needs to continue on a regular basis. Sometime last year they started the tradition of gathering with some friends and opening several magnums of Chimay from different vintages and having a party. This year was no exception, except we had several things to celebrate. First, and most importantly my friend Jeff and Rob are opening a new brewery. It is called Selkirk Abbey and it will be the only all Belgian brewery in Idaho. Unfortunately to open the brewery they will have to move out of their current space that has the worlds best mancave ever!…
This space was perfect with a great mancave complete with well stocked humidor, Kegerator that for my visit had a sixtel of Rocket Dog Rye IPA, Well stocked Whisky Bar with about 20 fine scotches and a bottle of Stranahans and a bottle of Blanton’s Bourbon, as well as Rob’s collection of several vintage brews and some ungettables like New Glarus and Surley Darkness. There was also a flat screen TV, Poker Table, overstuffed leather couches and several tables with stools. It was originally put together with the idea of opening up a private club which didn’t have time to materialize.
Up front was the area that they were planning on brewing beer in, and that is where it all fell apart. Jeff and Rob were clear from the start that it was their intent to start a brewery, so I don’t know if the park owner thought it would never get off the ground or what, but when the brewing equipment started showing up, he got nervous and said they couldn’t brew the beer on the premises. So the hunt was on for better space, and they found a perfect location about 1/2 mile away. More on that later.
So we were celebrating the closing of the club and the move to the new location as well. We had three vintages of Chimay Grand Reserve in Magnum size, 2003, 2005, and 2009. We began with the 2009 and worked our way backwards. The ’09 was raisiny and a little hot. There was a hop note towards the back of my palate and it was heavy with that Belgian yeast flavor. This was far and away the most favorite of the evening, except for me. I much preferred our second brew of the night the 2005 vintage. This one had mellowed quite a bit and wasn’t near as aggressive as the first. Also, it had a distinct apple and pear flavor which was quite nice and gave the brew a bit more complexity than the others. This one was also drier, reminiscent of Champaign yeast. Finally, the 2003 was like drinking pureed raisins. It was sweet and not complex at all. This was everyone’s least favorite.
So this was my first vertical tasting of any beer, and it was interesting and very informative. Jeff and Rob did it up right too with lots of great finger foods and other beers too. We cracked open a 2008 Dissident from Deschutes Brewing that had increased the sour by about 3 fold from the 2011 I had on tap a couple months ago. While it was more sour, I still liked the brew and had several glasses. We also had a 2008 Rogue Old Crustation Barleywine that tried. I must say I wasn’t a fan after having had some 14 dogs barleywine earlier at the Laughing Dog Brewery. It was just a very cloying and sweet beer. I ended up giving it to Jeff that loved the stuff. We also went outside and had a smoke break where we smoked great cigars, I had a 45th anniversary Padrone that was out of this world, and others lit up the Ashtons and Rocky Patels 10th anniversary cigars.
All in all a great time was had by everyone, and the next day they moved into their new space. I’ll have pictures of that for my post on the new Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company.