Orval and Achel: Completing the Sacred Task
It's not surprising the number seven is often a symbol of completion. On Thursday we completed every Belgian beer lovers dream, and tasted our final two Trappist beers. We've now sampled each one of the seven Trappist beers in existence. Pretty killer. Orval and Achel rounded out the list for us, and both completely delivered.
The Orval, having a pretty sweet reputation in the beer community, had me initially pumped, and it totally lived up to its reputation. It's a Belgian Pale Ale, which to me, can be a hit and miss style of beer. It looked pretty rad once I poured it into my Duvel glass, having a nice bronze color and a nice foamy head. I was still pumped at this point. I sniffed it. It smelled of strong yeast and carbonation. I sipped it, and it was complex yet simple, at the same time. Balanced perfectly were the flavors of mild hops, yeast, slight funkiness (funkiness is a good thing, IMO), and some fruit (lemon, faint banana, grapefruit) flavors as well. This beer earns a solid A.
The Achel was also very good. We had the Achel 8° Blond, which is a Tripel style beer (my personal favorite style, slightly ahead of it's bigger brother, the Quadrupel). The Achel poured a golden hazy color with a decent sized head that dissipated into a thin film. It smelled great and was filled with citrus and hop aromas. The beer is a spot-on Tripel. It had a brief citrus taste along with a rather strong hop flavor at the finish. It's crisp and very drinkable. It doesn't make the top of my Tripel list, but I would say it's still a classic of the Tripel style. I give the Achel Blond a solid B+.
Well done Cistercians! You've crafted some exceptional beer. The Bible (Psalm 104:15) states that wine makes the heart glad and you too have made my heart glad with your beer. Keep up the good work, you crazy little Trappist monks...