While it may not represent college exams in the traditional sense, the April-May period in an art college does pile on the pressure, with assessments looming and students still trying to conjure up something worthwhile from thin air. It also restricts the amount of time a person has to themselves without worrying about art or work. For me, this means a hit to any adventurous beer drinking, so any escape is welcome.
This time, the escape isn't particularly adventurous, but still incredibly enjoyable. It's Chimay Grande Réserve, and it's just about a year old. It pours a dark ruby red that's relatively clear without the yeast, and gives off banana, dark fruit and malty notes on the aroma. It's raisiny, figgy, and even has suggestions of spice or spiced rum. On the palate, dark fruit is to the fore too, with notes of green apple and a chocolate toffee backbone. The finish brings with it a touch of alcohol heat, understandable for it's 9% ABV, and the syrupy, sticky sweetness stays in the mouth for a long while after each sip.
Chimay is a brand that's accessible to just about anybody, and at a decent price too. This, combined with the fact that the Grande Réserve ages well, makes it perfect candidate for cellaring. That being said, enjoy it fresh and you probably won't be disappointed either.