Orval Trappist Ale

Orval Trappist Ale

Brassiere D’Orval S.A., Villers D’Orval, Belgium

Orval 100x300Information: (Site)There are only 7 trappist breweries in the world! Only beer brewed at an abbey, under the watchful eye of the Cistercian monastic community living there, can rightfully use the strictly controlled name of “Trappiste”. Of the numerous Belgian beers, only Orval, Chimay,Rochefort, Westvleteren, Westmalle and Achelare entitled to use the “Trappiste” name and one in The Netherlands : Koningshoeven.”

This beer was recommended to me by the fine fellows at Portage Wine Seller today, and once again, they’ve managed to select a beer I have yet to try. Though it did come in a single, 6-dollar bottle (yeah, it’s a bit steep since most cheap six-packs are around the same price, but for you guys… well, spare no change, ya know) and it’s only 11.2 ounces, I just know by the site alone that I’m in for something truly special.

The pour is a bright golden color with a lively, fully effervescing head that hangs out, stubbornly, before you even have a chance to get the whole bottle into your desired decanter. The scents are very crisp and fruity, with a tantalizing nose of good Champagne.  Let me try to cover this again: the frothy, almost overtly foamy head doesn’t want to subside regardless of your desired tactics. I was tempted to pull a Stella Artois with a dull blade, but I’ll wait it out and enjoy the wonderful aromas. Oh, and the site recommends you do not incorporate the centimeter’s worth of silt into the glass, so I’ll take not and hold off.

Wow. The taste is far from what you’d expect from the smell. It’s slightly fruity, with a cloying mouth-feel that’s almost floral. There is a hint of yeast and malts with just a touch of the peppery hops. If you’re curious as to just what a Trappist style is, here is this from Wikipedia: “With the recent exception of Koningshoeven’s Bockbier, Trappist beers are all ales, that is, top fermented, distributed in bottles, and mainly bottle conditioned. Trappist breweries use various systems of nomenclature of the different beers produced, which relate mainly to the relative strength of the beer in the range (e.g., “single”, “double”, “triple”. (Enkel, Dubbel, Tripel in Dutch).” There is certainly an ale quality about it, though the specific way it’s brewed gives it a far sexier appeal with that fruitier Champaign likeness. It’s very tasty indeed and seems as though it deserves being served along side a nice hard cheese course. Very nice.

Rating: * * * 1/2

As with its Trappist roots, this beer is fully reminiscent of a fruity Champagne.