Sierra Nevada, monks to partner up on Trappist-style ales

Ovila Abbey Dubbel

[Update #1 can be found here.]

(Chico, CA) – (08/06/2010) – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced a partnership with the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux to create the only authentic Trappist-style Abbey ales in America.


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 Trappist-style Abbey ales are known for their uncompromising quality and compelling flavor. In 2011, Sierra Nevada and the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux are working to bring this centuries-old tradition to America with Ovila—the nation’s only authentic Trappist-style Abbey Ale.

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, scheduled for release in March, will be a Belgian-style Dubbel brewed with authentic Trappist yeast. 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 Trappist-style Quadrupel rich with dark fruit flavors and the unique wine-like characters of these strong Abbey ales.

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.

Cistercian monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years. 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 Trappist-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.

Located in Vina, California, the Abbey of New Clairvaux is a Cistercian Abbey of Strict Observance (Trappist). The abbey was founded in 1955 on 590 acres of Leland Stanford’s famed Vina Ranch. The monks follow the Rule of St. Benedict—Ora est Labora (Prayer and Work) and spend their days in prayer, meditation, and tending to the labor of the working farm located at the abbey.

Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s first microbreweries and remains highly regarded for using only whole-cone hops and ingredients of the finest quality. Sierra Nevada has set the standard for artisan brewers worldwide as a winner of numerous awards for their line of beers and ales including the flagship Pale Ale, Torpedo, Porter, Stout, Kellerweis, four seasonal beers, Estate Ale, Harvest Ale series and a host of draft-only specialties.

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8 thoughts on “Sierra Nevada, monks to partner up on Trappist-style ales

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