01 September 2011 | Chimay, Belgium
Wednesday Aug 31
The first half of today’s ride was difficult, on the narrow or non-existing shoulder of a fairly busy highway, as there were no viable country road options. This will become more the case as we move into the Ardennes, the hillier and wilder part of the country. Lunch and a tour was at Brasserie de Silenreaux, a small craft brewery in operation since 1992. They are the makers of Sara buckwheat beer and Joseph spelt beer, sometimes found the the USA. Interesting that they did not put their own beers front and center in the cafe, 2 of the 3 taps being other commercial beer, and nearly all of the cooler.
Anyway, after lunch and a few too many sausages for the steep hills that immediately followed, the scenery became pastoral again, and we ended the ride just outside the village of Chimay, at the Augerge de Poteaupre, which is owned and operated by a commercial arm of the monastery. What a beautiful place to ride in to, Chimay beer, bed, and breakfast all in one stop, and a short walk to the Abbey de Scourmont, aka Chimay. Today the monastery doors were wide open, inviting all tourists into the central courtyard of the abbey. Absolutely beautiful and contemplative!
Chimay beer these days is flavorful and well brewed, and enjoys a strong reputation. However it lacks the microbiological diversity and flavor complexity that it had in the 80’s, which was especially revered by this writer and former brewer at that time.