Have you order your Orval beer in French?
You might think it's possible to ask for a beer the wrong way. In fact, it is possible! People have been arguing for some time about whether it is correct to say "une" Orval or "un Orval". We will find out together.
The Orval brewery
The Orval brewery and Orval beer both have a long history. The Orval brewery was created in 1931 already within the abbey of Orval. The monks hired their first master brewer who selected varieties unique very aromatic hops. No one would have expected their creation to become one of the most sought after beers in the world. Today, the brewery produces 22 million bottles a year to meet demand. In order to continue to guarantee quality, they have several production stages while respecting the original brewing methods.
Orval is an authentic Trappist beer. It is a high fermentation beer with a characteristic fruity and bitter taste. The Orval beer was first brewed when the Orval brewery opened in 1931. The beer goes through several stages of fermentation, fermentation with original yeast and wild yeast, then fermentation in the bottle. Beer needs to age for a period of time and requires various quality checks.
Beer and grammar
Beer is a feminine word in French, so the general rule is that all beers are feminine objects even if their brand name is masculine.
So do we say "un" Orval or "une" Orval?
The answer is un Orval. But why? Although beer is a feminine word(une), it is an exception in the case of Orval beer. The story goes that the name of Orval beer comes from the name "Val d'Or". As the name "Val d'Or" is masculine in verlan and because the word Val is masculine, then Orval is also masculine.
It is, however, a heated debate between people. Some still think it should be called "une" Orval like all other beers. And you, what do you think?