#HBBAdvent Beer 11: Orval Trappist Ale

Orval says: The Orval brewery produces only one beer to sell, a beer with a high fermentation that continues in the bottle. This beer is brewed exclusively from spring water, barley malt, hop cones, candy sugar, and yeast. The aroma and the fine taste are due more to the hop cones and the yeast than to the malt that is used. What’s special about Orval’s beer is that hops are added at two different stages of the production process. First, in the brewing room, a large quantity of very fine hops are added – this produces the famous bitter taste and is the reason why the beer keeps for a longer period of time. Later, in the storage cellars, hops are once again added. This is the so-called British “dry hopping,” which produces the delightful aroma that completely enraptures even the most carefully forewarned taster.

We say: I read somewhere that Steve Hindy, the founder of Brooklyn Brewery, considers Orval to be the best hangover cure known to man. For this reason, we always have a bottle in the fridge, referred to as our "Emergency Orval™". As to why it should be any better or worse than any other hair of the dog, I'm not sure but its gentle spiciness and funk seems to do the trick (and I speak from experience as I am drinking one now on a post-Brick Brewery birthday party hangover). Orval - a Belgian pale ale - can be drunk fresh or aged. We keep back at least one bottle from every new batch we get to add to our ageing cupboard. One day we'll get around to drinking them all (although will Emergency Orval work on a hangover caused by Orval?). - Jen

Each night, we'll reveal the day's hand-picked beer from our Big Beery Advent Calendar. Feel free to comment below or have your say on Twitter or Instagram (#HBBAdvent). Find Orval in store or via our online shop.