American Madness

Intelligent Criticism in the Service of a Better Nation

At The Bar: Grimbergen Beer

Posted by Matt Cipriano | 9 Comments

Unless you have been living under a rock, are underage or are a practicing Muslim, you have probably heard of Newcastle Brown Ale. Definitely a quality beer which I got a chance to have a cup of at Eat. Drink. Cook. Live. I am not going to bore you with a review of Newcastle.

At the same booth as Newcastle was another beer: Grimbergen. It wasn’t a beer I was familiar with at all, so of course I was eager to try it. As it was the end of the day and I had been sipping booze and stuffing my face with tasty foods all day long, I recalled it was a good beer, but couldn’t really pinpoint why I thought that. I just remembered that I liked it. Thus began my mission.

I finally tracked down Grimbergen at my local Whole Foods. I was really in luck since the beer had arrived earlier that day and wasn’t even out in the case yet. Fortunately, the guy who helped me had also been in the back earlier going through the new inventory. I took home a six-pack to have an accurate idea of what the beer tasted like so I could fill ya’ll in on it.

The packaging is nothing too special (though the old style label is a bit reminiscent of the Gryffindor House Logo in Harry Potter, despite being a phoenix. Maybe it is because of the colors. But don’t let that discourage you. The packaging speaks to the history of Grimbergen, which is close to 900 years old. It is a is a certified Belgian Abbey Beer.

I got the chance to drink the Double (as in double fermented) with some friends. I believe the Double is currently the only one coming in a bottle right now or maybe I have that backwards. Maybe it is the only one that is also available on tap. I will have to doublecheck. One of my tasting colleagues was not a big “dark beer” drinker the other prefers dark beers. Me, I just like beer. I figured we had a nice cross section to judge from.

Let me start off by telling you that if you drink Grimbergen like you drink regular beer, you are going to get drunk, and fast. The Double has 6.5% alcohol content compared with the usual 5% you are used to. You would think that this would give it more of an alcoholic taste, but it is surprisingly smooth, almost sweet.

It is a great full-bodied beer, but unlike other dark beers it’s not at all bitter or heavy. The fan of dark beers tasted some fruity undertones to it, and I thought it had a great taste that hinted at an almost malty flavor, but which was not at all overpowering. Other terms that were thrown around included “smooth,” “full bodied,” and “hearty” (but not heavy).

We were all big fans and thought it was best described as a great tasting porter (though a bit lighter then your typical porter).

Another nice surprise was that as our cold beer started to warm it didn’t affect the taste, at least not in a negative way. The beer was great to sit around and drink with some friends, it tasted great, and we were all in agreement that it was an excellent beer, and definitely something to keep an eye out for at the bar or at the supermarket.

And since it was going for the same price as a six-pack of Heineken, it’s an easy choice that isn’t too hard on the wallet, either. Oh, and it comes in other varieties, as well, so keep an eye out for those, too.


9 Responses to “At The Bar: Grimbergen Beer”

  1. Tianna
    September 19th, 2008 @

    My favorite beer!!!

  2. flyer
    November 28th, 2008 @

    grimbergen is madness!! it!…tired leffe? and other grimbergens like blonde…triple ..8 degree etc??

  3. Carlos
    December 9th, 2008 @

    Grimbergen’s Cuvée de L’Ermitage…..simply fantastic!

  4. Robert
    February 28th, 2009 @

    After spending a month in Belgium, grimbergen became my favorite beer. Although, I liked the Optimo Bruan the best. While it has a 10.2% alcohol content and you can’t drink a lot of it, is by far the best….. other than the Westvleteren 12 Trappist beer which is the absolute best, but very hard to come by.

  5. Rocky Pinard
    December 31st, 2009 @

    Grimbergen has been my favorite beer for more than 12 years. Second only to Spaten Optimator. I just moved from Las Vegas, NV to Vail, Co. I am finding it difficult to locate here. Can anyone tell me who imports Grimbergen into the states? So that I can get some of these local yocals to order it in for me? Grain which any fool can eat but one for which the Lord intented a more devine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker and glory to his bounty by learning about BEER!

  6. Dalton
    March 27th, 2010 @

    Tried this beer at Flam’s on the Rue des Lombards in Paris. I believe it was the blonde and on tap, and it was amazing!!! I’m trying to find it here in the States.

  7. Jon
    October 31st, 2011 @

    Grimbergen blonde on tap is my favorite, but I’ve been unable to locate it here in the US. I think you can find Double in kegs through a few keg warehouses via special order.

  8. Hélène
    April 10th, 2012 @

    Please, can you leave in top of your articles the writing date of those ones ?

    Anyway, Grimbergen is a really good beer. I can tell ! x)

    Kisses from France

  9. Mitch
    December 17th, 2012 @

    Grimbergen used to be carried by World Market, but for some reason it disappeared from their shelves. It kills me, because it is my favorite.

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