Brasserie d’Orval

Brasserie d’Orval-Sean-Z-Paxton-(59-of-60)

One of the six authentic Trappist Monasteries in the Ardennes region of Belgium, Brasserie d’Orval.  This working abbey  was created in 1132 AD.  They brew one beer (for sale), a Belgian Pale Ale style, that is inoculated with Brettanomyces in the bottling process.  This addition of wild yeast creates a beer that will ever evolve on its own.  When fresh, it’s malty, some hop bitterness, with more IBU’s than many Belgian brews.  Then, with time, the beer transforms, becoming more sour as the Brettanomyces attenuates the beer further, hops levels drop over time, changing the characters of this brew.  So when ordering an Orval, depending on a fresh or aged version, will radically change the flavor profile of this brew.

Brasserie d’Orval makes another special beer, mostly for the monks, that is only available at their small restaurant, at the entrance of working monastery. Orval also produces some amazing cheeses, that sadly are harder to find in the US market than the beer.

I wanted to share with you a photo tour I took many years ago, that shows the history of the Abbey, the old ruins and what is now Orval.  This experience truly moved me.  Each way I looked, I was filled with views that took my breath away.  To be surrounded by so such amazing history, purpose and dedication to God, as it is a working monastery. I was touched by their philosophy. They brew beer for a different reason, than most of the worlds breweries.  They brew beer not for profit, but for the good of the abbey and community.

Orval is also an incredible beer to cook with.  On one of my trips to Belgium, I had an incredible Orval Braised Rabbit made for me.  It’s a dish that I still dream about.  It inspired me to create some other recipes that showcase this unique beer’s style, flavor attributes and how the beer changes when cooked.

Please enjoy this and celebrate #OrvalDay with a fresh and aged version of Orval!


Crab with Orval and Leeks
Home Brew Chef Sean Z. Paxton
Tomato Orval Ketchup

More photos from the amazing Brasserie d’Orval

Sean Paxton

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