Orvalzymurgyfromage!

David | Blog | February, 22 2012 | No Comment

Sounds like one of those Few of My Favorites Things, pieces, right? Well, you’re right!

March/April  issue of Zymurgy came in the mail the other day.  If you are a homebrewer and you DON’T get this insightful magazine (print or e-version) you need to become a member of the American Homebrewers Assn. Zymurgy is one of the benefits, and there is a free preview on the site to give you an idea of what you’re missing.  The latest issue is a knockout. I enjoyed Randy Mosher’s cover story — a look at homebrewing around the globe. Then I really got a kick out of  a piece from Australia that documented the creation of a homebrewed homage to The Greatest Beer in the World. Ross Mitchell and Stephen “Kurtz” Nelisen are seasoned homebrewers and beer judges who have an appropriate regard for the great Trappist beer. The care they put into the planning and brewing of their KROrval is matched by the thought they put into the article. These guys embody what homebrewing is all about: creativity, love of beer itself, a sense of history, and geeky at-home science. Recipes are included, of course. Once I read their article I really wanted to try brewing something like an Orval, and I realized that it has been way too long since I have enjoyed a properly-served Orval at a fine beer bar or restaurant. Then of course, there are the cheese ramifications.

Vol. 35, No. 2

Abbaye d’Orval produces cheese as well as beer, so when in Belgium, do as the Trappist Cistercians, by all means. But I have no qualms about asserting that the beer outshines the cheese in that equation.  Off the top of my head, I’m going to put Orval with a Rolf Beeler Gruyere, a Sbrinz, or a really nice bloomy rind American goat cheese.  I need to do that in practice ASAP, so keep an eye on this space.

Mitchell and Kurtz were pleased with the results of their efforts, and are planning a similar ode to Westmalle Tripel.

Speaking of homebrewing, I spent Saturday with my brew brothers Kyle and Tony, brewing 15 gallons of dry stout and 5 gallons of a Belgo-stout. Tony threw a variety of goofy spices and fruits (but in small amounts) into the Belgian.  Very nice brew day. The skills of my brewing partners keep building, and our processes keeps getting smoother.  Can’t wait to taste those results.

And speaking of tasting unique beers, the Small Bar Fullerton in Chicago is hosting a special tasting of sour beers this Friday to mark its two-year anniversary. Hope to see some of you there.

Homebrewed Chicago stout

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