I don’t know why I’m reviewing this ale, I’m just going to give it a 10.
Seriously, this is my all-time favorite Belgian ale. I discovered it at a steak joint in Tampa, Charley’s Steak House, and I always enjoy it. My brother-in-law turned my wife and I onto Charley’s – and she learned to be careful with Charley’s Chocolate Martini’s that night too – and every time I think of great steak in a relaxed atmosphere I think of Charley’s and a bottle of Chimay Grande Reserve.
This beer is so smooth you don’t even think about that 9.7%, the beer sits squarely atop my heavyweight division. Every sip is heaven, with a balance between the hops and sweetness of the recipe so perfect it should be the standard of beer, not just the standard of Belgian Ale. Charley’s usually carries the 33cl bottle but when I shop for it I usually find it in the 75cl bottle, the 33cl is hard to find, and I reserve a long late afternoon to enjoy the entire bottle. One 75cl bottle of this is all you need for the end of the day.
The beer pours out a nice, deep, rich brown with an incredible head – frothy but tight, and big, and the head stares at you for a long time. I’d hesitate to describe the sweetness with tomes of fruit dancing in the bottle, but the beer gives you caramel, raisin, even Belgian chocolate toffee flavors that ride herd on the hops just right. This beer never ceases to amaze me when I take a taste out of the glass; the smoothness is almost indescribable on a family oriented web site, smoother than anything I’ve ever tasted, as smooth as the chocolate martini.
I usually take my time with this beer. A 75cl bottle is a couple of nice full glasses of beer, and I tend to relax and really enjoy these when I drink them. I’ve tried them with cheese, crackers and the like but the truth is, this beer stands alone as a regal reminder that are brewers in this world that really understand why the world drinks beer.
Simply put: probably my all-time favorite beer.