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Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s latest line of beer supports a surprising endeavor: the stone-by-stone reconstruction of a medieval monastery chapter house that William Randolph Hearst imported from Spain in 1931. Three limited-release Ovila Abbey Ales, brewed for the Abbey of New Clairvaux’s Sacred Stones project, are hitting stores nationwide throughout 2011 (the dubbel debuted in March, a saison will follow in July, and a quadrupel will come out for the holidays).
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The Belgian-style beers are named for the Santa Maria de Ovila monastery, built northwest of Madrid in 1190, which Hearst had dismantled and shipped to San Francisco. The various pieces of the monastery remained scattered about Golden Gate Park and in city warehouses until Trappist-Cistercian monks from the Abbey of New Clairvaux, in Vina, Calif., rescued them in 1994. Reconstruction of the medieval chapter house should wrap up in two years, but you can see the work in progress by stopping by the New Clairvaux abbey (we also recommend a brewery tour and tasting at Sierra Nevada in Chico, Calif.). www.ovila.com and www.sacredstones.org