Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Sierra Nevada needs no introduction. As one of the pioneers of craft beer – hoppy West Coast ales in particular – the brewery is one of the juggernauts of the industry. They’re one of those consistently good breweries who occasionally goes out on a limb with new offerings.
One of those newer offerings is their Ovila series, a collaboration with the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA. Together, they’ve produced three beers designed to be baseline examples of their respective styles: A Belgian dubbel and quad, and a saison. I’ve seen mixed reviews on each, but with saisons being one of preferred warmer-weather styles, I figured now was a good a time as any to try the series.
The pour is a nice golden sunset orange with yellow around the edges. There’s a big fluffy head on top, typical of saisons, with a little lacing and tons of carbonation streaming up the glass.
The smell is classic saison: Esters, spice and pepper, a good bit of funk and a great citrus smell, with lemon peel being the most prominent. Saisons are designed to be the quintessential warm weather beer – malty and hoppy, but never leaning to far to one extreme – and this is a good example of what the style starts out as.
The taste, again, is classic saison. There’s good carbonation at the front of the mouth and a really crisp, floral taste throughout the mouth. The citrus and grassy notes are very projected. On the back is that classic bite of funkiness.
Nothing outstanding, but for an example of what a classic saison should be like, this is a good start.