It's (almost) #Beersaturday again
“With the Phoenix as its symbol, Grimbergen Abbey rose up from the ashes century after century since 1128 to offer unique beers whose unexpected flavours reveal themselves with each sip”
How else to start the review of this beer than with the fantastic quote on the back label?
I love the quote, but let’s go to the facts:
1128, indeed that’s the same period when started Leffe (1240) started brewing. Leffe was the second beer I’ve been reviewing, a few weeks ago. If you've been reading the review, it won't surprise you that we get back to the time of the abbeys.
I’m not sure if exactly in 1128 the Norbertines started to brew this beer, because 1128 was the year the Grimbergen abbey has been founded, but definitely it will not ahve been much later. Like it was the case with Leffe, the Monks from Grimbergen Abbey brewed beer to give and show their hospitality to visitors. I personally would have loved this period in history and would be planning out a route to visit a lot of monks and abbeys :-)
After the French invasion around the time of the French Revolution, brewing activities in the abbey stopped and monks were offering beers form other breweries in the surroundings. The brewing activities didn’t start again till in 1958 the Maes brewery (one of the biggest breweries in Belgium) asked the monks to commercialize their new dark beer under the name Grimbergen. Maybe this and the change of ownership afterwards is meant by the Phoenix which rises from the ashes?... Or would it refer to the Abbey that has been destroyed serveral times by the flames itself, but has been reconstructed over and over again?
Fact is that currently (Alken-)Maes is brewing the beer for the Belgian Market and Carlsberg Group is responsable for the marketing outside Belgium. And if you can still follow… the Grimbergen we’re drinking in Spain and reviewing here, has been brewed on Poland (by Carslberg).
But enough history… Let’s taste! This beer is a typical Abbey Beer, so if you do like Leffe, you probably will like Grimbergen too. The varieties go in the same line as Leffe: Blond, Dubbel (“Double”), Amber, Tripel and some new varieties like Optimo Bruno and Grimbergen Gold.
6,7 % alcohol gives it an extra “toasted” touch, which lagers don’t have, but allow you to drink it cold from the fridge and lessen your thirst. An equilibrated mix of pineapple flavour, floral hops, and a good balance of fruit and spices is what you’re going to find in the taste and smell of this beer.
No problem at all to drink it from a Leffe Glass if you don’t have one from Grimbergen, but I choose for my Kwaremont glass (will review this beer on a later occasion) because it’s smaller. Like this I can pour more times from my bottle to create and keep a nice layer of foam on top. For the rest you can see the shape of the Kwaremont glass is similar than the Leffe glass. The foam disappears quicker than Leffe and that’s why I wouldn’t go for the traditional Grimbergen glass which reminds of times when beer was drunken without foam.
Maybe that’s why they have been chosen for a Leffe-like shaped glass for the new generation of Grimbergen?
I’ll end this review like I’ve started it, with a quote, this time from (some of) the caps:
“Phoenix” – “ Ardet nec consumitur”, “Phoenix – burned but not destroyed”