Brasserie Orval

The Notre-Dame d'Orval Abbey is located in the Ardennes, Belgium, not far from the French border, at the same distance (10 km) from Florenville (Belgium) and Montmédy (France).

The history of Orval begins in the distant 1070 when some Calabrian Benedictine monks left their convent determined to leave Italy to regenerate their monastic vocation. Upon arrival in Germany, the Archbishop of Trier awaited them, who advised them to seek new accommodation in the Ardennes, at the time his diocesan territory. The devoted Count Arnold II of Chiny, great lord and owner of the fief to which Orval belonged, offers him plots of land he owned.

It seems that the name Orval was inspired by Matilde di Canossa: a famous historical figure who, while visiting the construction works of the abbey, dipped her hands in the fresh waters of a spring that flowed inside the walls of the monastery (the current fountain Matilde), in an instant the wedding ring slipped from her finger and fell into the waters. Displeased Matilde begged the Virgin Mary to give it back to her, and then immediately a trout emerged from the source carrying the ring in its mouth. Amazed by what happened, the countess exclaimed: "This place is truly the valley of gold!"; "Aurea vallis" in French "val d'Or" which over time changes to Orval. There is a trace of this episode in the logo of the brewery which was registered in 1934, which it really depicts a trout with a ring in its mouth!

Thus began the long works for the construction of the abbey, in 1124 Henri de Winton, bishop of Verdun, consecrated the Church of Orval. Affiliated to the Cistercian Order, the abbey expanded, so much so that in 1723 it had 130 members and became "the most numerous in the Empire" and also the most productive thanks to the foundry in it. From the end of the 17th century to the mid-18th century, the Orval foundries were by far the most important in Europe; unfortunately however, with the outbreak of the French Revolution (1789 - 1793) the troops of General Loyson looted and burned the monastery, razing it to the ground. After 150 years, in 1927 a group of Cistercian monks arrived in Orval from France and Holland; on 8 September 1948 Orval was reborn from its own ruins, still partly visible next to the current beautiful monastic complex, a project by the architect Henry Vaes (also author of the bottle and glass of Orval).

Sure news of the existence of a brewery in Orval dates back to 1628, but there has probably always been a brewery inside the monastery. The current brewery resembles a chapel and was built in 1931. To date, the proceeds deriving from the factory are distributed by the monastic community to local social and charitable organizations, since in Orval they are self-managed economically with the production of bread, cheese , honey and jams.

The monks are allowed to drink Orval beer only 2 times a year: for the rest of the year they consume the Petit Orval (or Orval Vert) with 3.5°, a classic Orval diluted with water to lower its alcohol content. The total annual production is around 45,000 hl. (535 barrels per week), ten times more than Westvleteren's production.



Ardenne (Belgio)

Foundation year

Vineyard hectares

Annual production


Own grapes




J8QX+CV Florenville, Belgio

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