Stu from Real Beer has the Beer O'Clock proclamation this week:
I had been thinking about writing about Orval for a few weeks now. Last week’s comments – proclaiming Neil and I were writing about beers for grown ups – almost had me reviewing a kid’s beer, but I couldn’t find any single Heineken bottles at my local bottle store (and I’m sure as hell not buying a dozen). So, after very little deliberation, I chose Orval.
Orval is very much an adult’s beer (as opposed to Sante Fe Lager, Maurice Bennett’s 'adult' beer). It’s a great aperitif, perfect before a fantastic dinner party. But it’s also a superb 'lawnmower' beer (note: it says 6.2% on the bottle but it’s probably a fair bit more than that by the time you get to drink it, so only drink after you’ve done the lawns).
This trappist ale is highly effervescent and must be poured carefully, and is a beautiful peachy gold in the glass. Its magnificent off-white head takes on a rocky, sometimes fungus-shaped appearance and clings all the way down the side of the glass. The splendid aroma, which hints at vanilla for an instant, becomes a subtle perfumery of pepper, oak and citrus flowers. Almost bone dry in the mouth, thanks to 'wild' yeasts that most brewers shun, the flavour hints at old-fashioned citrus fruit with a bittersweet middle and a lactic tang in the finish. The peppery wood-like notes become more pronounced as you get through the glass.
It may not be sessional (that is, you probably wouldn’t drink it all night) but a bottle of Orval, one of the world’s most unique beers, would undoubtedly be my 'drink of last request.' You should be able to get it from most large supermarkets, good bottle stores or any of New Zealand’s many Belgian beer café.
Orval - Ratebeer (if you don’t believe Stu)
Sante Fe Lager
TAGS: Beer & Elsewhere