Orval began their long history in 1070 when monks arrived in the area. Over the years wars and political upheaval has caused the abbey to close several times. The modern version of the abbey began in 1926 when the de Harenne family gave the Cistercian Order the ruin buildings of Orval and the adjacent land with the intent of reestablishing an Abby. Abbey legend explains that the name Orval comes from the well told story of Mathilda of Tuscany who during a visit to the area accidentally dropped her wedding ring in the lake. She prayed that her ring be returned to her and like many of us made a promise to build an Abbey if the lord returned her ring. Moments later the legend goes that a trout surfaced with the ring in its mouth. UPon seeing the ring she proclaimed “Truly this place is a Val d’Or (Golden Valley)”. This Val d’Or morphed into Orval over the years. So in honor of the trout returning the ring this beer will be our fifth beer to represent Five Golden Rings.
Belgian Abby Ale 50º-57º F (10º-14º C)
Wine grape aroma comes off the glass immediately. During the initial pour an old musty scents come off. Wet blanket smells signal the presence of Brettomycyes, an expected trait of this beer. Not necessarily offensive but rather like the smells you would pick up on a farm after it rains. Semi clear amber color with a tan head of small tight bubbles that persist. Very good attenuation with little mouthfeel. Good carbonation on the tongue . Carbonation bubbles are felt over the tongue. Slight earthy hop aroma that comes through the taste as well. No lingering mouthfeel in the aftertaste. There is a slight bitterness that I would say is relatable to a red wine finish.
This would be a fantastic beer to pair with a charcuterie plate. Specifically Orval will stand up to some strong cheeses and flavors found on the board. If you are into bold flavors I would try this with a bit of blue cheese. For those that are looking for an interesting contrast I would also try prosciutto wrapped around cheese or melon. For those that prefer the sweeter taste you can be adventurous with the dried fruit or any jellies on the plate.