Good Beer Hunting

b-Roll no. 162

Orval’s iconic symbol—a trout with a ring—is found all over the brewery. Its roots can be traced back through the Abbey's history several hundred years.

The story goes that Countess Matilda of Tuscany was traveling through here in the 13th century. While taking a drink from the well (which remains near the ruined Abbey to this day), her wedding ring fell into the pool. Distraught, she went to the chapel to pray, promising to build a monastery here if the ring was returned.

When she went back to the pool, a trout emerged from the water with the ring in its mouth. “Truly this is the valley of gold!” she exclaimed. In French, “valley of gold” translates to “val d’Or.” This eventually became “Or Val,” and the coasters, bottles, and physical rooms in the brewery are dominated by the now-famous symbol which Orval trademarked as early as 1934.

“It’s not a style of beer,” says our Orval guide and local historian Claude Roulant. “It’s Orval.”

Breandán Kearney