This past weekend, Merideth and I traveled to the other side of the Monterey Bay to attend the release party for Odonata Saison. The fifth brew from this fledgling Sacramento brewery, Odonata Saison made its Monterey Bay debut at Vinocruz in downtown Santa Cruz.
ODONATA Saison is a rustic interpretation of the traditional Belgian farmhouse ales. Our recipe calls for generous quantities of wheat, barley and aromatic Styrian Golding hops. Saison features a snappy hop character and slightly tart notes that hit the tip of the tongue. Saison is bottle-conditioned to promote small, effervescent bubbles that cleanse the palate and creates a perfectly rounded body. In all, this beer is refreshing, complex and perfect on its own or with any meal.
–Odonata Sales Sheet
The pair behind Odonata Beer Co. are our friends Rick Sellers and Peter Hoey. Rick, formerly of Draft Magazine, and Peter, former brewmaster at Sacramento Brewing, launched Odonata in 2009. Their focus is to brew Belgian-style ales with the Saison as their flagship product. While we were happy to see Peter, we were sorry to miss Rick who had another Saison release to attend in the Sacramento area.
A wine bar seems an odd place for a beer launch but Vinocruz also carries the wines from the brewery’s sister company, Odonata Wines. Also, Vinocruz previously stocked Rorie’s Ale, Odonata’s other bottled beer.
We arrived at Vinocruz a few minutes after 3pm and found Peter set up in the back of the small tasting room. There was a mix of beer and wine geeks which you could easy discern by the dress. Also, while the beer people hung around in the back by Peter and the keg, the wine people congregated to the front of the shop.
Merideth and I soon had a glass of the deep-golden brew in our hand. I’m a huge fan of Peter’s beers and the Saison was no exception. The beer was bright, lively, with a wonderful fruity and spicy character. The most approachable of the Odonata brews I’ve tried, the Saison is going to be a perfect summer beer.
We spent the afternoon drinking a few Saisons and chatting with Peter, who we hadn’t seen since GABF. There was a festive feel to our small group, which also included Denis Hoey, Peter’s brother and winemaker for Odonata Wines. We were later joined by a couple of Santa Cruz beer geeks: Carlo from thebeerchannel.net and Sam who writes the blog Into the Brew. All in all, a very pleasant afternoon chatting with friends and drinking great beer.
Unfortunately, there were no bottles immediately available for purchase, but we were able to buy some ‘futures’ which we should arrive in a few weeks. When the warm weather finally arrives in Carmel Valley, we’ll be ready with our case of Odonata Saison. Thanks to the folks at Vinocruz for doing their part in promoting great beer.