The old red, white and blue.
July 10, 2008 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find Trappist beer in Canada? Vancouver, specifically.

The best beer I've ever drank is Chimay blue. It's amazing. Every time I drink it it's better than I remember it being. Chimay red, not so much, and Chimay white, somewhere in the middle.

There's a liquor store nearby that also sells a couple other trappists: Tripel Westmalle (good, but I'll have to give it another try) and Rochefort 8 (Possibly about even with the Chimay---again, I need to drink this one again to settle this dispute). Apparently Orval is also available at the BCL stores; I've never tried it.

So here's my question. Where can I get other Trappists? In particular, is it even possible for me to get any of the Westvleteren beers? From the wikipedia page's information about its limited distribution, this seems unlikely, but I can hope.

The next question is the following: What other beers like these are there? Seriously, Chimay blue sends me to whole new levels of delight. There must be other beer like it, somewhere. Somehow.
posted by vernondalhart to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can't get Westvleteren outside of Belgium and even there it can be hard to find. I think the closest I've found that's available is the St. Bernadus 12, but it's a loaded question and there's little agreement on the issue. If you're adventurous and willing to pay, you can often get Westvleteren on eBay.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:04 AM on July 10, 2008

That's not true at all, but you have to keep your eyes out. The last time I scored a Westvleteren 8 was in a drive-thru beer store in Ann Arbor, MI - $12/btl. You can order it online at plenty of places, like here - though I have no idea about Canada's shipping laws.

It really isn't worth the abject hype. It's a great beer for sure but don't spend much to get your hands on some - try some saisons, guezes and brown ales while you wait to stumble on a cache of it, perhaps: Lindeman Grand Cru (Cuvee Rene), the Rodenbach lineup, La Folie (not Belgian), and Saison Dupont all come to mind as far as relatively easy to find examples of the classes.

There's really only a limited lineup of actual Belgian Trappist-style ales: Achel, Chimay, Westvleteren, Orval, Westmalle, Rochefort. If you like them, you can branch into the ones I mentioned or into the Whites, Specialties, Lambics, Wits, etc. Even the "real" pils(ner) style can be fun to experiment with.
posted by kcm at 8:26 AM on July 10, 2008

There's a Rochefort 10 too. Around here it's $2 a bottle more than Rochefort 8. I prefer it, but not by that much.
posted by smackfu at 8:53 AM on July 10, 2008

Have you been to Brewery Creek Beer Store on Main Street? They have a really good selection of beer.
posted by metaname at 9:05 AM on July 10, 2008

I don't remember Chimay blue, so I can't give you a specific recommendation, but the Belgian restaurant, Chambar, might have something similar. Unfortunately, the Trappist beers listed on their website are the exact ones that you've tried. Perhaps there is something in one of the other categories of their beer menu that would still qualify.

As far as other recommendations go, have you tried the beers from Unibroue out of Quebec?
posted by nobodyyouknow at 9:10 AM on July 10, 2008

You poor BCers. Come to Alberta. There are at least six different "Trappist" beers at the tiny liquor store around the corner from my house in Calgary, and that's probably the worst selection in town.

I can also get Fruli for $2.79 a bottle.

Just don't drink too much. Alcohol content in these is insane.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:21 AM on July 10, 2008

metaname -

The brewery creek store is two blocks from my appartment. That's where I get my beer. There's also another place on Cambie nearby that seems to have a decent selection, too.
posted by vernondalhart at 9:50 AM on July 10, 2008

As for Unibroue, I've had a few of theirs---I quite like "Fin du Monde" and "Ephermere"... "Maudite", I'm not sold on, but I should give it another try.

Where can one find the Rochefort 10? I haven't seen that one around.
posted by vernondalhart at 9:52 AM on July 10, 2008

Look for Delerium Tremens. Usually I see it in the states as an opaque bottle with the pink elephants, it is another excellent Belgian beer with good western distribution although not a Trappist abbey.

I've been to Belgium, and Chimay Blue was my favorite as well.

Honorable mentions though were the above Delerium Tremens, Kwak, Leffe, Gulden Draak
posted by spatula at 10:55 AM on July 10, 2008

Just supporting the recommendation for Unibroue. I love Fin du Monde. Also Trois Pistoles, while outside what I think of as the Trappist taste-and-feel, is a nice, dark, dessert-y beer. And if you're willing to try lambic styles, I like Lindemans.

On preview, you've already tried Unibroue. Well, shoot.
posted by lillygog at 11:09 AM on July 10, 2008

RateBeer has a comprehensive search engine where you can search specifically for Belgian beer.

I don't know about Vancouver but in Ottawa the only place I can get Trappist ale is at restaurants that cater to beer snobs, of which we have... two. I'm sure the 'Couver has something similar.
posted by Menomena at 11:13 AM on July 10, 2008

There's quite a good selection at FireFly, 12th and Cambie. They've had the Rochefort 8 in the past; possibly the 10 as well.
posted by findango at 11:03 PM on July 10, 2008

Seconding FireFly. It's a great place to buy beer from all over. I don't remember them having Chimay Blue specifically (I could have sworn that the specialty liquor board stores used to carry it, but I'm thinking of the one specialty store in Kelowna, which is a great store), but they do have a wide selection.
posted by pantagrool at 12:53 AM on July 17, 2008

I'm pretty sure this is (was?) available at the big Cambie BCL.

Though I'm in Belgium at the moment, and found some in the grocery store for a euro each (less if you buy packs). I'll look at the Cambie store when I get back.
posted by warcode at 4:07 AM on July 28, 2008

It turns out that Liberty Wine Merchants now carry a selection of Belgian beers. Definitely a different bunch than the BCL.
posted by warcode at 4:00 PM on January 18, 2009

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