Last night, we blended funky Trappist pale ale Orval with two classic British best bitters, Fuller’s London Pride and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord.
Our thinking was that mixing beers with somewhat similar characteristics – pale malts, old-school European hop varieties –would add complexity through subtly harmonies.
We poured around three-quarters of a pint of each British beer and topped up to a pint with Orval.
First impressions were not good. Both blends gained a Granny Smith character that was most pronounced in ‘Londorval’. That is a component of Orval’s flavour, yes, but, watered down, as it were, it became a grating, insistent irritation.
Bottled Landlord isn’t a favourite of ours but, of the two, ‘Landlorval’ was the better blend. Still, as the pint progressed, it began to seem ever more thinned out and gutted like… This might sound silly, but like a pint of Worthington Cream Flow from a keg that’s been sitting around for months in a hotel bar.
So, there you go: Orval doesn’t improve every beer to which you add it after all.
We can’t promise that this will be the last time we blend beers with Orval but it will probably be the last such experiment we bother writing up. If you come across a good combo, let us know.