Day 5 – Belgium vs. Panama

Belgium

Belgium is perhaps the most influential country in the history of beer. I still remember the first Chimay Trappist beer I have ever tried. New to the craft beer scene then, I could hardly name more than three beer styles and could not call myself a sophisticated drinker in any way. But just one sip of the Trappist made me open my eyes wide and demand to know when, where and how I could get more of it.

Like all great art work which essentially manifests part of its creator’s heart and soul, the Trappist monks themselves are as inspirational as the beer they make. First starting out in year 1098 and pursuing an ideal of early Christian teachings, these monks lived a life of hard work and poverty. Without the distraction of worldly affairs, they dedicated themselves to studying, learning, farming and brewing beer. The exquisite beer we taste today is therefore a result of almost a thousand years of focused refinement.

In terms of beer style, the most common type of Trappist beer are abbey ales, which is a top-fermented brew. In a top-fermented brew, yeast and sugars are added during bottling, creating a taste that gets better with time. There is a difference however between Trappist beer and abbey ales. Though anyone can make abbey ales, the name “Trappist” is protected and only sanctioned Trappist monasteries may use this term for their beer.

Chimay beer is made by the Scourmont Abbey, shown in picture below.

 Photo credit: Campiste

Photo credit: Campiste

Panama

When you think of Panama, you are probably more likely to think of rum than beer. And you would be absolutely right. However, Panama also offers an exciting selection of craft beer. Today we introduce to you the Animal Brew of Panama. Being a huge fan of fruit beer, I took one look at the selection of their products below and it makes me want to pack my bag and head over there right now!

Selected Craft Beer of Animal Brew:

  • Skaters - IPA network of mango and raspberries
  • Quimera - Mocha Mint Stout
  • Summer Time - Pineapple Blonde Ale
  • Bloodshed - Hardcore Red Ale
  • Night & Fun - Strawberry Blonde Ale
  • Anarquia - Stout Red Fruits
  • La Blanca - White IPA

Lastly and going back to beer pairing post a couple of days earlier, for dinner today I made a quick stir fry of asparagus with sliced sausages and had it with brown rice, peaches and a sour beer (not our own unfortunately because I finished them all already). I have to say sour beer seems to be a great complement for sausages and it really was a simple but delicious meal!

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Ted