Total Score: 7.85/10
Oooo, new Sierra Nevada has arrived on our sunny shores – just in time for spring too! It’s another in their Ovila range which are beers brewed in collaboration with the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux in California. I had SN’s Abbey Tripel back in 2015 and I wasn’t blown away, it was technically well made but missing that touch of character you get in Tripels like Karmeliet and Westmalle… oh yeah and it was expensive AF at $17 per 375ml bottle. This one sits in more of a reasonable price bracket (I think it was around $30 per 6-er). Anyway, judging by other reviews SN are on to something special here, they really are still a top flight brewer in my books ever since I started drinking craft beer (about 9-10 years ago now… yikes!).
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.
A: Pale, almost phosphorescent (spooky!) hazy straw-coloured body with a firm powder-white head that sticks around well. This is a damn fine looking Witbier, damn fine! There’s a density in this head that really draws you in for a hearty gulp. 9/10.
S: Coriander spice and orange peel upfront and ever-present – classic Wit territory. Other notes include lemon, dry cracker, peppery character. Hint of phenolic clove as well. This is all fairly standard Wit stuff, for me this aroma could use a bit more oomph, but otherwise it’s OK. 7/10.
T: This beer immediately reminds me of how Hoegaarden Original tasted before it got bought out by InBev and watered down for the mass market – Ovila White Ale has all the Hoegaarden flavours: Coriander, orange peel, dry cracker, pepper and a hint of clove. Only difference is that this has the dial turned up to 9 (instead of Hoegaarden’s 5). Let this warm up a little and the flavours really come shining through, classy stuff from Chico California. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied, fairly creamy, gotta love that influence from the wheat – it really makes the mouthfeel wholesome. 8/10.
D: Great stuff from SN yet again! This is one of their more subtle brews, but sometimes in subtlety we find great depth – and Ovila White Ale has depth. It’s one that I’ll come back to again as decent Witbiers are not easy to find. Sure Hoegaarden body slams this on price, but put the two together and I’m sure you’d notice a world of difference between them (ones watered down AF and the other tastes like a decent Witbier). Cheers SN! 8/10.
Food match: Lighter fare such as salads, chicken, crumbly cheeses.