Chimay (both the beer & the cheese) is produced by the monks at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont. The Abbey is located near the town of Chimay, in Belgium, which lies just north of the French border in the forest of Mont du Secours.
The Cistercian Abbey was established in 1850 by Trappist monks as a place to study, pray and work. By 1862 it was decided that a dairy and a brewery would be built, as an addition to the Abbey, in order to help generate funds for the monks' livelihood. Cheese production started soon afterwards, using milk produced at the Abbey's dairy, and the cheeses were sold at the local market.
Today, production of Chimay remains similar to the original recipe with a few variations. Some versions of the cheese are still washed with spring water while others (such as this version) are washed with their famous Chimay beer. The other variation from the early days of production is that milk is now sourced from local and regional dairies rather than from the Abbey's herd of cows.
In the true style of the category of cheeses known as Monastic Washed Rind cheeses, the texture of Chimay is semisoft, supple and slightly springy.
Aromas are quite pungent as a result of the regular washings with beer while the cheeses mature. The washing aids the development of the Bacterium Linens culture that gives the cheeses their red-orange and slightly sticky rinds.
Flavors are milder than the aroma would indicate. Thre are hints of hops and malt, grass and earth.