Saturday, March 26th is Orval Day, a day to celebrate a beer beloved by many beer geeks and professional brewers. Beer drinkers these days, especially the newcomers, take sour beers for granted. They’re still rather rare, but there was a time when they were non-existent in America. The first one I remember encountering was Orval. I remember thinking, “This is not beer.” In time, I learned the folly of my thinking.
Thankfully, Merchant du Vin started importing specialty beers from Europe back in 1978. Orval is just one of the many beers they’ve brought to America over the years. According to Merchant du Vin, Orval was the first brett beer to land in America. I have no reason to doubt them.
Orval sells only one beer, which they brew to timeless perfection within the walls of Notre Dame d’Orval Monastery in Belgium. It’s delicious when it leaves the brewery, but also evolves in the bottle for years.
There are Orval Day events happening all over the country. Click here to see all of them. In Washington, there are five events planned (see list below).
In keeping with the Trappist mission, part of the proceeds from each bottle will be donated to MAP International, a global charity that promotes health and hope. Local Orval lovers are invited to celebrate Orval Day at any of the following locations:
- Pint Defiance in Tacoma (2049 Mildred St W, Fircrest, WA)
- The Beer Junction in West Seattle (4511 California Ave SW, Seattle)
- Brouwer’s Cafe in Seattle (400 North 35th Street, Seattle)
- Toronado in Seattle (1205 NE 65th St, Seattle)
- Slow Boat Tavern in Seattle (5701 Rainier Ave S, Seattle)
At The Beer Junction, Orval Day coincides with the kickoff of Belgian and Sour Beer Week.
Pint Defiance in Tacoma is very excited to be part of the fun. “We are stoked to be a part of this nationwide event,” says Barry Watson, who owns Pint Defiance along with his wife Renee. “Orval has always held a special place in my heart and in my fridge.”
At Pint Defiance, bottles of Orval will be available for customers to drink on premises, and the first forty-eight to do so get to take home an authentic Trappist glass. In addition, two beers inspired by Orval will be available to try along side the original. They’ll have Three Magnets Brewing’s Belgian Pale Ale on tap—brewed with a strain of yeast “borrowed” from a bottle of Orval. Also, cans of Mikkeller Årh Hvad?!
“Every craft beer drinker remembers their first Orval,” says R.J. Adler, Assistant Manager at Pint Defiance. “And I’m excited that I get to introduce a lot of new people to the beer.”