Orval Trappist Ale

Orval Trappist AleImage by Pepino1976 via FlickrFor those (OK, one person so far, plus me) who want to see something that's available on PEI, I give you Orval Trappist Ale. I had one from off-Island back in March, and am pasting my old notes for it here. The pic is a free-use one.

The fact that PEI is stocking this beer is rather important, I think. First of all, it's world-class beer, but more importantly, it's a Trappist ale. In the whole world, there are 171 monasteries of Trappist monks, and only seven of those make beer. This is one of them. We've never had such a beer on PEI. In the past week or so, I have seen a pretty huge stock of it at a couple of different Island liquor stores. I just hope that they haven't brought in too much, and that it succeeds, so it validates bringing such things in. But enough chit-chat. On to the beer!

Well, the head wowed me. As soon as I popped the cap, it foamed out of the bottle a bit, and I had to pour it in stages. So much head! A very firm, light, creamy head, like beaten egg whites. It does die down, but it takes a few moments. The colour is great. A nice, foggy amber / orange-brown.

The smell is also good... I picked up some citrus in there... maybe orange or even a little grapefruit... apple. A hint of spice. Luckily I didn't pick up the advertised smell of "horse blanket".

The taste is akin to the smell. It's very understated & mellow. I like that, but at the same time, I was hoping for something a bit more distinct.

In the mouth, it's good. Carbonated just enough, smooth and creamy... dry finish.

For a Trappist ale, which can be hit or miss for me, I thought it was quite drinkable. It wouldn't be hard to put a few of these away if they were cheaper. At less than $4.50 at our stores, it's worth a try. Let me know what you think if you try it out.

(For extra reading, the label comes from an interesting legend.)
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  1. Hey Steve

    Great write up. I actually bought some of this a couple of days ago and haven't had the chance to try it yet. But I was curious and checked some of the history out. This is the funniest thing I have read about it.

    "There is a complex aroma of leather, horse blanket, spice, and many other earthy components. " (horse blanket) ??

    Lots of good info on this beer on Wikipedia too.

  2. Hey, SJ.
    Yeah, the leather and horse blanket bits aren't exactly enticing, are they? Thankfully, I saw those after my wife brought me back a bottle from the mainland in the spring... otherwise, I might have shied away. Oh, who am I kidding... I'd have tried it anyway.

    If they don't taste like your kind of thing... don't be afraid to try some other Trappist ales or wheat beers. You may find you need to get used to the style, or that they need to grow on you a little (and they will). Enjoy 'em. They're pretty good.


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