Ovila Abbey Ales is a collaborative project between Sierra Nevada Brewing and the Trappist Abbey of New Clairvaux in central California. The latest beer is a Belgian-style Witbier. The story according to the beer’s description is: “The monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux hold themselves to a higher standard. So when they challenged us to create a beer that transcends all others, our brewers blended Old World tradition with modern-day mastery to deliver the perfect expression of Belgian witbier worthy of a goblet but comfortable in a pint.”
I love a good Belgian Wit, and like most other styles considered “simple,” they’re actually quite hard to come by. Poorly executed versions often suffer from under-carbonation, too much citrus, weird adjunct choices, under-fermentation, or any combination of these. Sierra Nevada Ovila White Ale uses the simple combination of wheat, barley, and acidulated malt with the traditional coriander and orange peel adjuncts.
Appearance: Cloudy pale straw, white head, great retention.
Aroma: Earth, wheat-y, vanilla, orange blossom, herbal, spicy.
Taste: Spicy, light citrus zest/pith, vanilla, cracker.
Overall Impression: Sierra Nevada is one of the most consistent breweries in America and their Ovila line pays true homage to Belgium’s various styles. Ovila White Ale is another great beer from both. The yeast strain they used is pretty active and makes the beer a bit cloudier than is standard. You can control the level of cloudiness depending on how much you move/agitate the bottle to get the yeast on the bottom of the bottle into suspension. The yeastiness gives the beer a velvety texture. The acidulated malt, carbonation, hops, and adjuncts make for a nice crispness. Ovila White Ale was released in April, but is still on shelves. If you like great White Ales, pick one up. It’ll treat you right on a nice summer day!
Availability: Seasonally where Sierra Nevada beers are sold.
You can read more of my Sierra Nevada reviews here.