Not every beer bar has to have loads of great beer on its menu to make it a worthwhile stop. Sometimes, just a few will do. One, even.
That’s the case with La Nouvelle Hostellerie d’Orval, which is the “other” café/restaurant near the famous Trappist abbey.
While many tourists who visit the Orval abbey only make time to visit the excellent A l’Ange Gardien café, which is owned by the monks, the “New Hostellerie of Orval” is well worth a visit, and a meal.
The café of course offers fresh Orval with a few months of aging,
as well as with 6 months, one year, and two years of age. (Editor’s note, as of September 2, 2014: I have the sad duty to inform you that the Nouvelle Hostellerie now only stocks young Orval, with three to four months of aging. They no longer stock any aged Orval, and as such, are no longer an Orval Ambassador cafe.) You can also order your Orval at fridge or cellar temp. There are additionally a few other brews on the menu. But you might as well stick with the hometown favorite, and experience Orval in different ages and conditions. It will be worth it. Trust me. Do I ever steer anyone wrong in Belgium?
(Editor’s note: in my opinion, the loss of the aging program and Ambassador status of the Nouvelle Hostellerie d’ Orval leads me to recommend that beer lovers visiting Orval concentrate on visiting the Auberge A l’ Ange Gardien, which is owned by the monks, as it carries both young Orval and minimum one year old Orval, as well as the excellent Orval Green on draft. The Nouvelle Hostellerie can no longer be considered a prime beer destination, but as a secondary one if you happen to be visiting on a Wednesday when the Auberge is closed, except during July and August, when it is open every day. If you do pop in for a beer, a second brew after your young Orval could be a Gengoulf, a fine beer from a new local brewery.)
The Hostellerie also offers fine meals. I had the “Pennes au Fromage de Orval” which was an excellent penne pasta covered with Orval’s Port Salut cheese. Yum! A companion had a similarly great penne dish with ham and cheese.
La Nouvelle Hostellerie d’Orval also has a large terrace (we’d call it a patio stateside) for al fresco drinking and dining on good weather days.
The café also offers omelets, cold plates, desserts (including ice cream) and more. It that wasn’t enough to pique your interest, the New Hostellerie also offers accommodation, with six rooms. If you want to get an early start touring the next day, or not stray far after a long day touring the ruins, museum, and gift shop of ‘l Abbaye Notre Dame d’ Orval, then it’s a fine choice, as it’s walking distance.
La Nouvelle Hostellerie d’Orval is open from 11:30 am to 2 pm Monday to Saturday; 7 pm to 11 pm Monday to Friday; and 7 pm to midnight on Saturdays. It is closed on Mondays (except in summer) and from December 15 to January 31. Tel: 06 131 4365.