After having a pleasant brew lamb burger and seafood chowder at the Garrisons Ale House last week with the feels good guys, and arriving at home to see a few fresh cooked lobster in the fridge I decided to resurect my classic drunk Chowder recipe. I had two goals in the creation of this fine dish one was to refine my skills of the drunk chowder and secondly to compare different vintages of the funky delight of a brew named Orval.
Little guy not to upset at being sacrificed.
Now I'm no Chef and that is not what this is all about this is more attuned to discerning the particular attributes of a well designed brew. Fortunately when included with a bit of ingredients it makes a meal that I personally enjoy eating.
However some history behind the brew first. Orval is part of the high cisterian order where part of their homage to their school of charity was to create both bread, beer, and cheeses, their are currently 7 Trappist breweries that are able to emblazon their logo on their product a certain percentage of the profits must go to charity or the community.
The monestary at Orval has been around since the 12th century and brewing would have been a large part of it, yet after a fire left the monestary in ruins it took a while to rebuild, Beer in fact helped resurect the monestary to it's proper form and has been a source of economy for the area since. Orval only produces one beer and like no other Trappist Product. It is the most hoppy of the beer offered by the monks as it includes another batch of hops in the conditioning phases of brewing a term known as dry hopping, where normally hops are included in the boil. Also unique is the use of their house strain of yeast and then include Brettanomyces as an additional strain of yeast for fermentation, uncontrolled this is a demon yeast but if the brewer is carefull enough in handling the behemoth then you get a pleasant flavor like no other, it may take some time to grow on you but when it does it makes one search for more brews with this flavor.
The Stained glass overlooking the brewhouse (photo Courtesy of Orvla.be).
The story behind the label on the beer is as follows: The weddin-gring of Mathilda of Tuscany fell into the fountain after prayer a trout came to the surface with the ring in it's mouth. Mathilda was asstonished and believed the area to be a place of Val d''Or' and a gratious sum was donated to the monestary. Architect Henry Vaes designed the new monestary the Goblet and the bottle all still used today. Truly a spiritual brew with yeast still left at the bottle, be carefull to end the pour before the bottom, but later I include this yeast with the last of my consumption as it is healthy for you. The monks when fasting would only drink their heavy beer to get the nutrients from the yeast and residual sugar. and they would normally have an every day table beer, being alloted a few gallons a day.
The Architect designed glass and goblet (photo courtesy or Orval.be).
Upon pouring you see a bit of an orange color, when smelling and tasting the brew you get a bit of funk, that is the Brettanomyces. This particular character can give a dish some zest and that is why I choose to use this brew to add an element of zest in my chowder. I add the brew to a simple chowder concoction of first potatoes and carrots, a sliced tomato sometimes gets tossed in if I remember to give some umami, add heavy cream and then a healthy amount of herbs. the Lobster bits and then some flour to thicken it. The brew gets poured in towards the end a it is a hoppy brew reducing it too much will make a bitter monster but exercising care and you are left with quite the treat.
If I am cooking it is always pleasant to soak the chef in a delectible brew, that is what best brings out the character in the food. For this ocassion I left a bit of a fresh bottle of orval and compared it to one that I had put away in the basement for a year, after a years time the Brett continued to attack the residual sugars still in the brew resulting in a more crisp initial taste but overall was more bitter as the flavor profile developped, a bit of funk and you have to good graces of a brew to cook with and enjoy while cooking.
After finishing the Chowder I grabbed a bottle of Picaroons Dooryard, this has a peppery zest to it quite similar to a belgian Saison. I enjoyed the combination with what transpired in the pot. IT's a good time of year for fresh Lobster Fresh Picaroons and some old time funk.
Add a Comment