Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's Ovila Dubbel

There are many "collaboration" beers out there and I have reviewed a couple of them in the past, such as the Saison du Buff and the El Camino (Un)Real Ale.  However, I recently came across a "collaboration" beer that seemed to be rather unique.  It is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. 

The Abbey is a community of Cistercian monks located in Vina, California.  The monks at New Clairveaux have their own vineyards and produce their own wines.  (You can check out their vineyard website at this link.)  However, with Sierra Nevada, the monks were able to reach back into the past of the Cistercian order and produce a beer whose style has been brewed by monasteries for more than one hundred and fifty five years.

Back in 1856, the Trappist monks at the Abbey of Westmalle (once known as the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van het Heilig Hart) began brewing a beer that became known as the Abbey Dubbel.  These beers are generally mid-strength beers, dark in color, with aromatic and taste elements that evoke fruit, yeast, and malts.  This traditional Trappist beer serves as a great starting point for a community of monks in California who have been making wine rather than beer.  

And, for their first collaboration, both the monks and Sierra Nevada have hit the mark with this Abbey Dubbel.  The Ovila Dubbel has a caramel color when poured, with a nice, off-white foam.  The aromatic elements of this beer are heavily suggestive of apples, along with some hints of raisins.  There is also hints of the malts in the aroma of the beer, with little to no presence of hops.  The aromatic elements are also present in the taste of the beer.  The Ovila Dubbel has a lot of apple in the flavor, along with the flavor of caramel and raisins.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of the Ovila Dubbel goes toward the restoration of the historic Santa Maria de Ovila chapter house on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux.  This medieval style building stood for eight centuries in Spain.  William Randolph Hearst purchased the building in 1931 and planned to use the stones for a castle at San Simeon.  Although Hearst never built his castle, the stones will be used to build a house at the New Clairvaux Abbey.

The beer is available at Whole Foods for about $11.99 per bottle.  A good beer for a good cause.


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