Belgian beer is renowned for its tradition, and so is its cheese. The Abbaye de Scourmont, heart of Chimay beer brewing and cheese making, is firmly rooted in this tradition. Its origins go back to 1850, when a small group of monks settled on the wild plateau of Scourmont near Chimay set up a farm, a brewery and a cheese plant around the monastery, permitting the growth of regional employment.
“The regional aspect is still very important for our activities,” says Xavier Pirlot, General Director. “We employ local people, and we only use local milk for our cheese to support the regional supply chain. Our aim is to link and advance both product groups, beer and cheese.”
The fact that both Chimay beer and cheese are recognized as authentic Trappist products means a special obligation to Bières de Chimay SA – an obligation to tradition and quality, but also to ethical values. Traditionally, Chimay beer owes its authenticity to the fact that it is brewed in a Trappist monastery and under the control and responsibility of the community of monks. Most of the income generated is devoted to the need of the community and social works.
“We offer different varieties whose quality and fine flavour are appreciated worldwide, above all our strongest beer, Chimay Blue Cap,” adds Mr. Pirlot, who is a qualified brewing engineer himself. “The brewing process we use is unique, as our beers are neither pasteurised nor filtered, but fermented, the oldest and most natural process possible. Furthermore, there is refermentation in the bottle. Also, the quality of our water is exceptional, which is very rare and cannot be rated highly enough.”
Chimay Blue is greatly appreciated in pubs and restaurants around the world, followed by the other varieties Chimay Gold, Chimay Red, Chimay Triple and Chimay oakbarrel-aged, added to the range four year ago and a great success since. Now take the cheeses to match, and you are in for a truly intense experience.
The regional aspect is still very important for our activities. We employ local people, and we only use local milk for our cheese to support the regional supply chain. Xavier PirlotGeneral Director
Chimay Blue Cap dark ale with its powerful aroma for instance is best enjoyed with Fromage Grand Chimay. Chimay Gold with its refreshing aromas of hops and spices is at its best when accompanied by Le Poteaupré cheese. Chimay Red Cap blends harmoniously with Chimay à la Rouge, while Chimay Triple is ideal with Vieux Chimay, a cheese ripened in the cellars for six to 18 months.
All cheeses are made using fresh, local products to ensure their superior quality. “The purity of the ingredients we use is one of the aspects I greatly appreciate,” comments Mr. Pirlot. “Like the fresh, wholesome milk for our cheese, the good water, malt, barley and other natural ingredients we use define our beer. Our pro duction reflects the responsibility and values Chimay stands for.”
Combining monastic and regional know-how, Chimay has gained national and international renown for its fine beers and cheeses, a development that is reflected in the company’s annual turnover of more than 70 million EUR. Foreign sales via retailers and distribution partners reach many countries worldwide.
Chimay cheese is mostly sold in Europe and the USA at present, yet demand is on the increase due to growing interest in Asia. The company’s 140 employees are well qualified and benefit from regular training. Mr. Pirlot feels that this is part of Chimay’s social responsibility.
“We believe in enabling our staff to grow and develop within the company so they like to stay,” he explains. “The fact that most of the profits generated from our activities are devoted to the community and social aid projects also belongs to our responsible business approach. And, of course, there is our environmental commitment: it is my personal aim to further reduce Chimay’s ecological footprint and develop the company.”
Chimay takes part and attends major Horeca fairs in Belgium and abroad, an excellent opportunity to gain an impression of the company’s products, values and background, and – if you wish – make a new, savoury experience.