My husband and I had the pleasure for visiting old friends in Belgium a few years ago. This is when we first tasted the incredibly rich and intoxicating beers brewed in a few of the Trappist monasteries there. Our friends served Chimay.
From our friends' home in Wavre, we took a long drive that included parts of Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, and France. We visited one of the monasteries and participated in another tasting.
But no matter how many times I might have been told the alcohol content of these beers, I never thought of them as being any different than any other brew...until the evening we spent in Dinant, a town between a rock and a wet place (the River Meuse). We checked into a quaint hotel, then headed out for dinner. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a pub. Our drink of choice that evening was the beer from the Rochefort Trappist Monastery.
When we returned to our hotel that evening, I made my usual entries in my travel journal and then collapsed on the bed, almost giving myself a concussion. The bed was as hard as a rock. I suspect the mattress was made of straw packed solid from years of supporting hefty tourists. It didn't matter. I was snoring in minutes.
The next morning, I pulled out my travel journal to make a few more notes, and found the last entry was illegible, the incoherent ramblings in written form from one more victim of ignorance and over-indulgence.
The beers from the Belgian Trappist Monasteries are delicious, and they're available at most wine shops and liquor stores. Just be careful. They really are more potent than your favorite micro-brew.