Orval Trappist beer
Trappist beers are considered the best in the world. There exist only a handful of authentic Trappist breweries, most of them in Belgium, and one of them is Orval.
To be considered as Trappist, beer has to be made by a Trappist Monastery. There are around 13 such breweries, but only 10 of them are recognized by the International Trappist Association as worthy of using the Authentic Trappist Product label.
The Abbey of Orval had to be rebuilt more than once since the Cistercian monks first settled here in 1070. On a visit to the monastery, you will see the extensive, magnificent ruins. Among them, in different buildings, await museum spaces: interactive screens dedicated to abbey’s history, exhibition about pharmacy and a medicinal plant garden, dim-lit underground corridors showcasing sacred art, as well as several rooms devoted to the art of brewing!
According to a legend, a young lady unwittingly dropped her golden ring into a spring, but after she prayed, a trout appeared miraculously on the surface with the piece of jewelry in its mouth. Today, a trout with a ring is the emblem of the Abbey. The spring from the legend can be seen in the complex – and on one of my photos.
The present day monastery, built in art deco in 1926, where the monks live, is off limits to tourists, but you can see them behind the walls.
The brewery itself is also not part of the tour. Visits are organized once a year and the next is scheduled for Sep 15 2023. Yet, while passing the outer walls from the southeast, a characteristic scent can be felt in the air. That’s it, something’s brewing!