Help me find cheap Chimay!
June 28, 2007 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm completely addicted to Chimay Blanche (white label, or Cinq Cents), but it's so expensive!

Does anyone know of A) a reputable place online to buy the 750ml bottles cheaper than, say, USD $10 a pop or B) a cheaper beer that is similar in taste, alcohol content (8%), and body?

posted by nitsuj to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
One of the bars I frequent has it on tap.. So you could probably get a barrel.
posted by mrunderhill at 2:41 PM on June 28, 2007

Relax, have a homebrew.
posted by caddis at 2:47 PM on June 28, 2007

I personally like Leffe, which is a belgian blonde ale. It has a taste not too dissimilar from Chimay Blanche, but a lower alcohol content (I think around 6%), and definitely a little less body (it's pasteurized, I think). Certainly not identical, but a very good macrobrew.

Here in Philly, it runs around $40-45 a case.
posted by Netzapper at 3:02 PM on June 28, 2007

nitsuj, I've been drinking Chimay red and blue for a while now. I'm not a huge fan of the white label, but I've never seen it for less than $11 us in Albuquerque, Chicago, Detroit or Boston.

However, if you enjoy Chimay, I might suggest that you start exploring other Belgian beers. I've been working my way through my (very nicely stocked) liquor stores Belgian section for a couple months and I've found several that I like, however few are less expensive.

St. Sebastiaan, Piraat, Orval are all ones I enjoy. In a pinch Duvel will do, but it doesn't taste or feel anything like Chimay Blanche.

I'd look for Trappist or Abbey beers.
posted by FlamingBore at 3:05 PM on June 28, 2007

Allagash Tripel Reserve is a domestic beer in the same abbey tripel style as Chimey Blanche. It's quite good and can be had for $6/750ml in some places.

Also, find out who the local beer wholesalers are. Some of them maintain a walk-in retail presence with really good prices.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:12 PM on June 28, 2007

Man. I played a concert in Antwerp last december and 750s of Chimay were about 2 euro. I brought back all the ones I could fit in my suitcase.

Anyway, enough loving and longing. I'd have to agree your best bet is to try Leffe or maybe Westmalle Trippel.
posted by atomly at 3:14 PM on June 28, 2007

You're going to pay a premium for any imported Trappist or Abbey-style ale. Give some North American brews a shot: Brewery Ommegang's Hennepin (or anything Ommegang, they've gotten really good) or Unibroue's Fin du Monde. These will likely be much cheaper, and they're mighty tasty in their own right.
posted by cog_nate at 3:20 PM on June 28, 2007

Where are you? There are beer specialty stores in some US cities that can help you.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:00 PM on June 28, 2007

Response by poster: The cheapest place in town sells it for $12.99. It's a specialty beer and wine store.
posted by nitsuj at 4:06 PM on June 28, 2007

FYI: A Barrel is about $180-$210 for a 20L wholesale. Also, a barrel is really only fresh for about 8-10 days - this is straight form Chimay. A barrel would probably not be practical.
posted by eggerspretty at 4:06 PM on June 28, 2007

c:\awesome writes "^^ marked as worst answer."

Given the price, it's actually not a bad answer. Being an ale, it's not terribly difficult to brew (top fermenting yeasts like warmer temperatures, so you don't need to lager it in a refrigerator). Price of brewing your own: probably less than $50 (not counting equipment, which can be found at More Beer for reasonable prices).

Just remember to oxygenate the wort, that makes a world of difference in how the beer turns out.
posted by mullingitover at 5:28 PM on June 28, 2007

My favorite belgian is a blond called Delirium Tremens. Its usually a bit cheaper than Chimay.
posted by subtle_squid at 6:17 PM on June 28, 2007

mullingitover, I don't think he was pointing at my answer; if you read the link he was pointing at the idea of buying a keg. I really do think that Belgian style beers offer one of the best bargains in brewing. When I started brewing beer in the late 80's there were precious few microbrews available and many of the imports were just plain stale. Thus, you could literally brew better beers than you could buy, especially in ales. Also, the good ales that were available were pricey. Things changed and microbrews got better and cheaper. Now I think of brewing, which I haven't done for a few years but am contemplating going back, more as a hobby to have some fun like cooking, not to save money. With Belgians it is different. They are really pricey and frankly the ingredients for a good strong Belgian include enough cheap sugar to keep the price very reasonable, and you can culture yeast from a bottle you were going to drink anyway so the yeast is free. This style still offers a great bang for the buck, even using dried malts (real fanatic brewers go all grain, which is cheaper, better, yet horribly more time consuming, and a partial mash will get you 90% of the way there for 2/3 the work).
posted by caddis at 6:43 PM on June 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

You don't say where you are, but if anybody in Houston or Austin loves you, Spec's Liquor has it by the case -- $103 for 12, or about $8.50 per. Shipping would drive the cost up too high, so you'd want to have someone bring it to you next time they're heading your way.
Alternatively, search Google Products and see if a shop near you has it listed for a price you're happy with.
Or this site has them for $4.80 each, and shipping doesn't seem too expensive -- for 20 bottles, it's telling me a $50 standard shipping charge to the US, or $55 for 25 bottles.
posted by katemonster at 7:52 PM on June 28, 2007

3rding Leffe.
posted by forallmankind at 8:41 PM on June 28, 2007

Fin du Mon is my favoritest beer ever, for sure. In my mind it's a better bargain than Chimay: around the same price, but even more delicious.

Going by prices where I live, Victory's Golden Monkey is slightly cheaper than Chimay/Fin du Mon, and still pretty damn good. Looks like they have a shop in PA you could visit, but I didn't see anywhere you could order and have it delivered.
posted by lillygog at 9:02 PM on June 28, 2007

Have you tried Hoegaarden¿
Or Blanche de Chambly¿
I can get these here in Canada, so Must be able to check them out in the US. Can't say anything about their differences in taste, just that they're white beers. Your site rated them lower on the scale than the one you're addicted to.
That La Fin du Monde rated equal though.
posted by alicesshoe at 11:11 PM on June 28, 2007

Seconding the Hennepin recommendation. 750 ml bottles run about 4-5 bucks. It's not the same class as Chimay, but it's similar in style and a good value for the price.
posted by Otis at 7:23 AM on June 29, 2007

Spec's is my new favorite store in Austin. Also, if you have a Total Wine nearby I'd check that.

And I wholeheartedly second the Ommegang and Allagash whites, with the Ommegang Hennepin being slightly closer than the Allagash.

Great tip on the beer wholesaler - I'm going to start digging around Austin right now for one.
posted by skechada at 1:49 PM on June 29, 2007

For something that's cheap(er) but in the same style, give Rogue's FestiveAle a try.
posted by keith0718 at 1:57 AM on June 30, 2007

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