The foam is gorgeous too. Rocky and white, it surges up like sea foam over the hazy, grapefruit-hued ale and persists at the top in a swirling, cloudy galaxy of bubbles. This is enough to get me all riled up, but now I can smell the beer better too. Sensory overload. This ale makes me yearn to drink it — why should I torture myself?
The first sip tastes sweet (of course), but it’s also smooth and crisp, with a dry bite that slices through the flowers and fruit. Some spicy, earthy Belgian yeast blends with acidic citrus and cherries to form a tart undercurrent and give it a slight lambic snap. The fruity sweetness is rounded out by fresh, floral hops, which soften the flavors at first but add a bitter kick to the finish and aftertaste. Orval’s light to medium body coupled with its dryness and vicious carbonation (if you poured gently) gives it an almost champagne-like mouthfeel. Delicate and creamy yet bold. It’s immensely satisfying.
This ale reminds me of old things, of the historic moments history doesn’t talk about: youths running through fields of European wheat; flowers germinating, growing, and dying without the world noticing or needing to; farmhouses set ablaze by the falling sun. Yep, Orval reminds me of all that sappy lost-innocence crap that probably never happened anywhere but at the movies. But that’s why I love beer. My mind reels at how one beverage can encompass so many evocative personalities. Discovering them all is the reason I run my beer blog.
To read more about Orval (and other beers), visit beer(ein)stein.com!
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