On Saturday, March 24th we raise a toast to one of our favorite beers...ORVAL!
Orval is a complex and intriguing beer that is considered one of the best in the world and a favorite among brewers and bartenders. There has been a lot said about this beer, but we wanted to hear from our local beer community about what makes this beer so special to them.
Nate Soroko - Beertender, Modern Times and Toronado:
“Orval is perfect.
Slightly bitter, effervescent.
The og brett beer. So good the Abbey only makes one beer.
It's an upper echelon beer. Great fresh. Wonderful when aged. It's classic...it's Dean Martin getting out of a Lincoln Continental...cool without effort.
Winslow Sawyer - Brewmaster, Pure Project:
"I love Orval. From the sexy bottle to the cute little fish; there's nothing quite like it in the world. I'll be forever grateful for Orval introducing me to a special guy named Brett and showing me that you can be traditional and unconventional at the same time."
Andrew Schwartz - Speciality Brewer, Modern Times:
“Orval is such a mind bending belgian beer. A beautiful juxtaposition of new and old, modern and rustic. A paragon of modern brewing practices and dosed with a touch of wild. Something different and unknown. I love how Orval is a supreme example of Brettanomyces and yet it is completely restrained. Orval is infinitely complex and dynamic and yet succinct and elegant. A duality that is uncommon in beer; illustrious but humble.”
Derek Gallanosa - Brewmaster, Moksa:
"Orval is one of those beers that you drink as a rite of passage into the craft beer world. The respect that it demands is unlike many others. From the custom designed bottle to the snow cone looking head that it produces, Orval is an iconic beer whose appearance is known around the world. One of the most memorable Orval moments was being dragged to a former fancy pants San Diego nightclub, Stingaree, when I was 21 and being absolutely shocked to see it in their cooler for sale. Without hesitation I ordered one. Took me a few times to describe to the bartender what the hell I was talking about but when I finally got it, it turned an uncomfortable setting into a highly enjoyable experience. Every year around this time I seek out a bottle (or bottles) of Orval to pay homage to this truly classic beer."
Curtis Chism - Co-Founder, Council Brewing Co.:
“Orval is such a distinctive beer from the other amazing Trappist beers. I view Orval as a community beer thanks to the annual Orval Day that brings funky beer lovers together. I've had the opportunity to drink aged bottles in the States as well as fresh bottles in Belgium and I'm always struck at how different, yet amazing, this brett beer is no matter the age of the beer which showcases just how incredible this beer is.”
Matt Olesh - Bottlecraft Solana Beach:
“I recently got an Orval tattoo. Why? Throughout my journey in craft beer, this beer has always been there - always revealing itself in new and interesting ways. Not only is it my desert island beer, it's an inspiration to me as a future brewery owner. Orval's use of dry hopping and brettanomyces bottle conditioning make it especially unique compared to other Trappists. Rather than the typical dubbels, tripels and quads, they've created a beautiful beer that evades style definition. It pours slightly cloudy with a rustic burnt golden orange hue and an impressive long lasting velvety off-white head. The nose on the beer emits bready malts, lightly earthy funk and a citrusy hop character balanced by a red-wine like fruitiness. The taste is delicate yet rustic. Lively carbonation up front gives way to explosions of rich pale malt and traditional abbey yeast character. As the carbonation subsides and your tastebuds have time to catch up, the fruitiness of the brett and hops reveal refreshing candied citrus notes and more of that wine-like fruitiness.
In Belgium, some places serve Orval as an age specific offering. You might see it listed as 'under 1 year' or 'over three years'. As the beer ages, it undergoes a transformation from lightly sweet with a pronounced hop note to a yeast forward beer with big notes of brettanomyces and very lively carbonation. In the end, Orval leaves you intrigued and wanting to experience that flavor journey again. It just makes me so gosh darn happy.”
About Orval Day:
“The Orval legend began almost 1,000 years ago, when a princess accidentally dropped her ring into a spring and a trout returned it. It continues now, with a day to reflect on and enjoy this amazing Trappist ale.
Last year, devotees of Orval Trappist Ale – and even some folks who hadn’t tried it yet – convened upon their favorite bar to celebrate one of the world’s most unique beers. Orval was the first Brett beer to land on US shores, and has become the favorite beer for many star American brewers. ( "Brett" - brettanomyces - is a yeast variety that adds appetizing, sharp acidity and dryness.) Orval sells one beer, brewed to exquisite perfection within the walls of Notre Dame d’Orval Monastery in Belgium. It’s delicious when it leaves the brewery, but also evolves in the bottle for five years or more.”