Orval Abbey is a Cistercian monastery founded in 1132 in the Gaume region of Belgium and is located in Villers-devant-Orval, part of Florenville, Wallonia in the province of Luxembourg. Nestled somewhere within these archaic walls lays something very special, the Orval Brewery, which was created in 1931 to finance the enormous reconstruction works of Orval. It has hired lay workers from the outset, including the master brewer, Pappenheimer, who invented the recipe. The beer was first brewed in 1931 and owes its unparalleled taste to the quality of the water, the hops and the yeast used. The brewery has selected very aromatic and unique hop varieties, which hark back to the first brew master of Orval, who hailed from Bavaria. The beer’s aromas are very pronounced while maintaining the right level of bitterness thanks to the English method of dry hopping.
The Trappist beer as its called must adhere to some rules in order for it to be made in holy grounds and sold, this is part of three parts to the rules to make it an: "authentic trappist beer."
A product must be manufactured in a Trappist abbey.
The monastic community must be directly involved in the management of the activities.
The revenue must be essentially used for charity.
There are only twelve Trappist breweries recognised in the world.
You may also notice the Fish logo on the Orval bottles of beer we sell, well this comes again from another fascinating story to do with folklore and legend:
The logo of Orval is a fish holding a golden ring in it's mouth. The legend goes that the widow of the Count of Chiny, Mathilde de Toscane (1046 - 1115) was sitting beside the local spring when she accidentally dropped her wedding ring into the waters. Praying that it would be recovered she was filled with awe when a trout appeared with it in its mouth. She was so grateful to have the ring returned that she donated the funds for the building of an abbey. This truly is a golden valley: Or-val The spring is still there today and provides the Abbey with its water!
In Orvals owns words:
"Dear Fans of Orval, Serving an Orval is an art. Below are a few practical tips. Open the bottle by using a good bottle opener securely held in the hand. Never use another object for this such as a lighter, a knife, etc. When opening, apply some pressure to the cap so that it stays on the bottle. You will hear the pressure escaping from the bottle. When removing the cap, you will notice that it stays on the open bottle. Slowly pour the beer into a special Orval glass without shaking the bottle. Hold the bottle horizontally and slightly tilt the glass. In a flowing movement, slowly straighten it until only one cm is left in the bottle. Enjoy !"