We are happy to see that 2021 Orval Day is returning to its original time during the month of March. Last year it was rescheduled, rightly so, to the month of October. But with more bars open and a promotion for purchasing a carry out bottle or two, Merchant du Vin will host 2021 Orval Day on Saturday, March 20.
This year’s celebration will be bit subdued, just as it was this past October as we manage our way through the pandemic. But bottles of Orval Trappist Ale will be available at many bottle shops throughout the Pacific Northwest for Saturday’s celebration!
A fan favorite of so many professional brewers, Orval is monastery-brewed and is the first Brettanomyces sour ale that many Americans ever tasted. The beer is one that has satisfied so many beer drinkers from around the globe as it continues to do so, even in a day where trends seem to overtake classic beers.
Merchan du Vin, the beer’s importer, supplied us with a bit of Orval history…
Legend has it that around 1070 AD, Princess Matilda – a Duchess of Burgundy – was traveling through the forest in what is now southern Belgium. She and her companions paused to rest at a clear spring, and when she trailed her hand in the water her gold ring accidentally slipped off her finger and quickly sank. Upset, Princess Matilda fell to her knees and prayed for the return of her ring . . . suddenly a trout swam to the surface with the ring in its mouth, returning it to her! She said “Truly, this is a golden valley!” (In French, or = gold; val = valley. Orval= golden valley) and she decided to give the land to the church. The first monks arrived soon after.
A bottle of Orval is a treasured beer. This Trappist Ale has gone on to inspire many craft brewers here in the U.S. with its use of Brettanomyces that gives Orval its unique, one-of-a-kind sourness. Brewed within the walls of a monastery in Belgium, this beer is legendary for its fine attention to detail as it develops its nuances with age.
Locally in Portland, The BeerMongers will once again host an Orval Day as it pulls some beers inspired by Orval out of its cellar. Belmont Station will have bottles on Friday at Noon for sale for Saturday’s event to safely do so at home.
Whether you are celebrating safely at a participating restaurant or bar, or you brought some Orval home from the store. Merchant du Vin will make a donation for every bottle sold in the US on Orval Day, this year to a group of US hunger-relief charities. As one charity highlighted for MdV, their donation of 50 cents per bottle is more than two meals for someone in need.
Merchant du Vin encourages you to share your photos on Orval Day on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram and by using the hashtag #OrvalDay.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.