Beer: Chimay Dorée
Brewery: Bières de Chimay (Belgium)
4.8% ABV / N/A IBU
As styles go, it doesn’t get any more niche than Patersbier (literally “Father’s Beer”), a lower alcohol beer traditionally made for and by monks to consume while doing the Lord’s work of brewing delicious Trappist ales. Patersbier literally exists so that Trappist monks can sample their own beers without getting wrecked; as such, Patersbier was not really designed for mass consumption beyond the auspices of the abbeys where it is brewed. Chimay Dorée—aka Chimay Gold—is the outlier, likely due to Bières de Chimay having the second largest production output and distribution footprint of any of the 14 breweries recognized by the International Trappist Association.
Patersbier is defined by two distinct characteristics: It is typically a weaker formulation of another of the brewery’s beers, and it is frequently spiced. In this case, Chimay Dorée is basically a session version of Chimay’s original dubbel Chimay Première (aka Chimay Red), and it is brewed with coriander, a spice commonly found in Indian food. It’s every bit as inviting as Chimay Red, which is already one of the best Trappist beer at its price point, and the coriander adds a hint of floral sweetness. The result smells and tastes a lot like cardamom, which suggests that this Patersbier was brewed with whole coriander seeds.
Trying to make this with ground spices would be a rookie mistake. Of course, these Trappist monks are pros—they’ve literally been doing this for hundreds of years. Spiced beers, in general, are often “hard pass” territory, despite their connection to ancient brewing techniques, but the coriander in Chimay Dorée is truly the work which transforms God. In addition to the its sweetness, coriander also has a flavor profile in line with the zest and pith of an orange. The sum effect is not unlike another extremely well known Belgian-style beer brewed with orange peel, Blue Moon. Just way, way better.
For more info, check out Chimay.