It’s almost 2014, but there’s a great café that’s deserves some attention for its accomplishments in 2013.
Irish Pub Dubh-Linn, located at a crossroads in Wolfsdonk, Flemish Brabant, between Aarschot and Diest, is the number one Orval Ambassador café for 2013. It was awarded the “Magna Cum Laude” distinction by the Trappist brewery in late 2012.
The Orval Ambassador program was begun in 2002. Being a certified Orval Ambassador cafe means partly that the brewery has verified that Orval is presented correctly, served at the temperature the customer requests (either fridge or cellar temperature) and that at least one event promoting Orval is held at said establishment every year.
It also helps if the café offers aged Orval.
The explanation of the criteria used to choose the Orval Ambassador cafes, from the brewery website:
“The café owner presents Orval with optimal visibility in his establishment. The consumer will thus find his Orval Trappist beer in a typical setting. Various quality advertising props are featured in these establishments.
The purpose of quality orientation is to remind the manager of the art of good service that lovers of Orval appreciate when tasting their brew: a choice between an Orval served cold or at room temperature, the use of a specific, dry glass for each beer, the desired accompaniment with Orval cheese, all presented with an overall smile to the client.
The Orval Ambassadors are not only appreciated for their excellent service and the special Orval ambiance in their establishments, but also for their knowledge about Orval. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions about the brewing and the history of this Cistercian Abbey.”
Irish Pub Dubh-Linn offers Orval at fridge or cellar temp, and also offers it young (less than six months from bottling) as well as old (6 to 12 months aged) and older (One year or more aged in the bottle.)
Orval breweriana is prevalent throughout the café, which also specializes in other Trappist brews. The beers of Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Rochefort, and Westmalle are offered, mostly in 33 cl bottles.
In fact, the beer selection stretches to 70+ bottled brews, and is a very good list. There are a lot of regional and abbey beers, and a number of Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek brews. The three beers on tap include Guinness and Chimay Triple.
Dubh-Linn also specializes in Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whisky, and there is a room dedicated to these spirits.
Small snacks are on offer, and there is an Irish breakfast available every Sunday morning at 9:30 am. Reservations are recommended.
The brick building housing the bar is more than 100 years old, and used to house a grocery and an inn. The current business was opened on September 1, 2000, by owner Christophe Van Rompaey, a true beer and whisky/whiskey lover.
The address is Testeltsesteenweg 236, Aarschot (Wolfsdonk.) Dubh-Linn is open Thursday through Monday from 2 pm until whenever they decide to close for the night. I highly recommend it.
Orval, as well as Rochefort and Westmalle, are imported to the U.S.A. by Merchant du Vin.