Orval Trappist Ale – Brasserie d’Orval S.A.
Purchased at Nugget Market ($5.99/11.2 oz. bottle) and poured into red wine glasses
This product of the Trappist monastery Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval pours a murky burnt orange with a billowy off-white head. It possesses an odd and invigorating nose of caramelized bananas, along with some highly unusual spice and burnt sugar notes. The first swallow has the mouthfeel of seltzer water along with a root-based earthiness, although those banana and unusual spice flavors are ever-present in the aftertaste. Orval is a mysterious brew, and fairly uncommon for a Belgian Trappist ale – I got more mouth-coating hops and bready yeast than the usual candi sugar and estery fruit. I can’t say that I loved it, but I’ve certainly never had anything quite like Orval.