Join Club

Your Beermonger: Desert Island Beers

This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

Hello, readers of ARLnow.

This is your new Arrowine Beermonger, Todd. I figured, rather than the typical introduction, I’d let you get to know me a little bit more by talking about one of my favorite beers. (Three sentences in and you’ve already learned that I sometimes take the long way to get to a point.)

The concept of a desert island beer seems pretty simple, right? You’re stuck on an island, and you have only one beer to drink until someone conceivably comes to rescue you — or you live out the rest of your days in an introvert’s paradise. Are you thinking of your all-time favorite that you can enjoy over and over, never tiring of the taste? Or maybe you’re looking to pamper yourself in this hypothetical by loading up on that rare bottle you’ve never gotten your hands on.

Personally, I’m looking for something that will be versatile enough to cover all the bases and that will be continually developing so I’m always on my toes. Enter: Orval.

Brasserie d’Orval is a Trappist brewery located within the walls of the Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval in the Gaume region of Belgium. Gaume is about as far away from Brussels as you can get while still being in Belgium. And Orval is about as different from your typical Trappist beer while still being a Trappist beer. (Trappist beers are categorized by the monks making it rather than the style or ingredients.) You might be thinking of the beautiful simplicity of Westvleteren Blond or the rich caramelized fruits of Chimay Grande Reserve, and most Trappist beers resemble one of the archetypal styles (Singel, Dubbel, Tripel, Quadruppel).

Orval, on the other hand, at its most simple, is described as a Belgian pale ale, but even that gets a few twists and turns thrown in like dry-hopping and my favorite part: an intentional dosing of wild yeast, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, at bottling. This last addition is what makes Orval my ideal desert island beer. That “Brett,” as best known to its friends and enemies, will continue to ferment the bottled beer for years to come, which introduces differing levels of funk in every bottle, an increase in carbonation (the reason it comes in such heavy bottles) and has the added benefit of scavenging oxygen.

At a young age, the beer is dry, fruity and very refreshing, but as it ages, it becomes bone dry, introducing more spicy notes and far more complexity. To speak to the joys that the full spectrum of this beer brings me, I cite two examples. First, one of the many highlights of spending my honeymoon in Belgium was exploring the grounds of the abbey and sitting in the cafe down the road to enjoy an Orval far fresher than any I’ve ever seen in the United States. And second, I once found two bottles in a store that had been bottled on Feb. 29, 2012. I immediately bought them with the intention of opening one on each of the subsequent Leap Days in 2016 and 2020. (Best laid plans and all but that didn’t work out.)

I was inspired to make this the topic of my first column since we’ve got more Orval arriving at Arrowine today. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend picking up a bottle or two with your next order.

Drop a comment below and let me know what your desert island beer would be!

Cheers,

Todd

Recent Stories

In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.

In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.

A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org

Submit your own Announcement here.

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list