Posted on April 14, 2011 | By TheEnabler | No Comments
Living in Chico, California has disadvantages in doing a liquor blog. We do not have great liquor stores here, the access to a lot of the more interesting, and obscure booze is lacking. Chico distinguishes itself as the largest town (city, if you want to stretch it) in the State not connected to a free way. I personally like it that way, except for the booze thing.
One of the benefits, though, is the Sierra Nevada Brewery. In Chico you can get beer that they do not ship anywhere else, or if they put out an unusual or special bottling, you can get that, too. So, luckily it is easy to find the Ovila Dubbel. This is a special project between the Sierra Nevada Brewery and the monks at the New Clairvaux Abbey in Vina, California. Part of the proceeds of the various ales that are being brewed are going to finish the Chapter House there. From their site:
The Chapter House, reconstructed here at the monastery, was originally built in Spain between 1190 and 1220. It was originally purchased, dismantled and brought to San Francisco by William Randolph Hearst in 1931. Originally intended to be the centerpiece of a new building project that was to surpass that of San Simeon, it remained scattered about Golden Gate State Park until the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco awarded it to the Abbey.
Anyway, the ale itself is a wonder of taste. I am not a big beer drinker, or ale, or what have you. I mean I will drink it but prefer wine or hard liquor in general. This “Belgian” style ale is a different matter. They call it Belgian style, and it has some of those traits, but I also find it similar to my very favorite ale in the world, Belhaven Ale. Belhaven is a Scotch ale, and is similar to this.
The ale does not have much of a head. It has a sweet maltiness, with fruit notes much like many Belgian Ales. The creaminess and a bit of pepper and spice are wonderful. They mention cloves, but my palate is not good enough to catch that. The beer has a great mouthfeel as well, with a more subtle (is that the word I am looking for?) carbonation than many beers. It also has a hint of breadiness.
This is perhaps my second favorite beer after Belhaven. I would highly recommend trying it. The bottle is corked and lovely, but comes in at a wallet hurting $9.99 per 25.4 oz. bottle. Oh, and the alcohol is high 7.5%. Strong but not ridiculous.