Orval Trappist Ale is brewed and bottle-conditioned at the brewery inside Notre Dame d’Orval monastery, founded around 1070 AD in the pastoral Belgian countryside. After a turbulent history including being pillaged and burned more than once, the current abbey and brewey was rebuilt, on the same grounds, in the 1920s and 30s.
Three different malts, two types of hops, Belgian candi sugar, complex fermentation with multiple yeasts, dry-hopping and bottle conditioning all contribute to the great character and complexity of Orval. This vintage-dated and unique beer can be cellared up to five years.
According to legend, Princess Matilda was passing through this region in about 1070 with her retinue. She stopped at a clear spring and trailed her hand in the water – and her wedding ring, a gift of her recently-deceased husband, slipped off her finger and sank. Distraught, she knelt and prayed fervently for its return . . . and a trout swam to the surface with the ring in its mouth, returning it to her. She is said to have claimed “Truly, this is a golden valley!” (French: Or = gold; val = valley) She gave the land to the church, and the trout with the gold ring can be seen to this day in the Orval logo.
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