Orval Trappist Ale
The story behind this ale goes something like this: Matilda of Tuscany, who was to be betrothed into the royal family of the region, lost her gold ring in a pool of water. She prayed frantically for its return. A trout answered her wishes and popped out of the water procuring the ring in its mouth. The princess promised to build a monastery to commemorate the miracle. The Abbey D’ Notre-Dame d’ Orval was built on the site by the pool of water and is considered one of the seven official Trappist breweries in the world where the beer and its business is still run by monks. The only style of beer produced by this monastery is a hazy-orange, almost copper ale. Orval has a large, rambunctious head that gives off waves of damp, earthly aromas. Apples, blossoms and leather waft upwards on the nose. The taste is slightly tart at first, before yielding to a splendid show of apples, pears and grassy essences. The finish is relatively smooth and creamy. It is hard to pigeonhole Orval ale into a particular style category with its unique taste amongst the normal Trappist beer styles. Orval is balanced and dry with slight earthy, tart notes and a leathery must from the use of Brettanomyces yeast strain. The monks claim the beer will be good for up to five years, and the beer’s character changes radically with aging, becoming even more tart with less snappy hop bite.