Charlie Papazian’s book, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing, was the first beer/brewing publication I ever read. That was close to 20 years ago! In that time, Charlie has come a long way in his career and I have come along way in my appreciation of beer. Today, among many things, Charlie writes beer articles for Examiner.com.
I just stumbled across a series of articles he has written on Orval, a Trappist Ale from Belgium. Belgian Ale has been one of my favorite beer styles in the last few years, but I don’t recall drinking Orval. Charlie reports that Orval brews only one beer. The only thing that changes is the date in which it has been brewed. However, that is an important factor, since the beer characteristics change with age. So, when ordering an Orval in Belgium, it’s common to request a particular age, as the bars, cafes and restaurants nearby the brewery will stock large amounts of the beer with the intent to serve by the brew’s release date, similar to the common practice with wine. In the US, that practice is unheard of.
There is so much beer and so little time, but I must run out to State Line Liquors to buy some Orval. I think they carry it! :-)