Ovila Abbey Ales: Sierra Nevada

A Mix of Two Articles from Sierra Nevada and Beernews.org …No Author Mentioned

For nearly 1000 years, monks have been brewing ales behind monastery walls. Their closely guarded traditions and techniques produced styles of beer unlike anything else in the world. These unique Abbey ales are known for their uncompromising quality and compelling flavor. In 2011, Sierra Nevada and Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux are working to bring this centuries-old tradition to America with Ovila.

This series of three Belgian -style Abbey ales is made in accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the monks. Each beer will be only be available for a limited time and will rotate through the seasons. The first beer in the series is a Belgian-style Dubbel. The second beer in the series, scheduled for release in July, will be a Saison, the traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale made in honor of the Monk’s dedication to labor in the fields surrounding their abbey. The third will be released in time for the holidays. It will be a Quadrupel rich with dark fruit flavors and the unique wine-like characters of these strong Abbey ales. Cistercian monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years.

Proceeds from this project will benefit the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in their efforts to rebuild an architectural marvel—a 12th century, early-gothic Cistercian chapter house—on their grounds in Vina, California a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico. The medieval chapterhouse—Santa Maria de Ovila—was begun in 1190, near the village of Trillo, Spain.

In 1931, California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, gained possession of the ruins, and began the painstaking stone-by-stone reconstruction of the historic abbey.
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