Monday, December 21, 2009

Loss, Updates and a Look Forward

It has been more than a little while since we last posted an update here, and there’s some good reason (along with some lesser quality excuses) for this. You see, a whole lot has happened in the past couple of months, and me being selected for a jury in a multi-month case isn’t helping move things along at all! Hopefully this will catch you up without putting you to sleep.

First off, we lost the Saison. We’re not going to get into the details here, but it’s safe to say things just didn’t work out like we’d hoped. Lessons were learned and the whole experience has caused us to refine things a bit to make certain this never happens again. Suffice it to say, there will be no Saison released in 2009. Sorry to say that.

Good news is we do have some finished product that will roll out any time now. This, of course, is Water Witch, our Dark Belgian Strong ale that weighs in at 9.5% ABV. It’s got a lovely burgundy hue, great clarity and a rich fruity flavor that digs right into the tongue while finding a way to finish incredibly dry. Be careful with this one, it sneaks up on you in a hurry (and carries a very large stick!). This beer will be sold on draft only (no bottles) at select accounts in Northern California. We’ll let you know when it’s ready – then you can inquire as to the details of where to find this beauty of a beer.

More good news? Yes indeed! We’ve got a plan in place to supply you and your suds-loving friends with Saison in early 2010. There are no changes to the recipe, except that we’re making a lot MORE of it than originally intended. The beer will still be modestly hopped, aged in white wine barrels and bottle conditioned. While we don’t have an exact date for release (hope you don’t expect that from us, something about bottle conditioning makes for a fun and constantly moving target) we know the beer will be out before the mercury rises too terribly high in California (thinking late February).

Guess what, there’s more!

It was our intention when we started down this road to partner with existing breweries to save money, reduce energy use and cultivate lasting relationships with brewers in our area. Well, what we weren’t banking on was just how little room there would be for us in these places. Seems you all are doing a bang-up job of supporting the local beer scene and tank space just isn’t as free as we’d initially thought. With this in mind we had a couple of options: We could work with multiple breweries to squeeze in a batch here and there, as space became available or we could bite the bullet and build a small place of our own. Clearly the latter requires a bit more money than the first plan, but the opportunity to brew what we want, when we want, the way we want is awfully appealing! Therefore, we’ve decided that in 2010 we will build and open a brewery of our own in the Sacramento area. It won’t be much, a warehouse with some tanks and a few taps, but we’re positive the beer will be the best you can find. We’re still in the process of doing the legal work and raising funds, so if you happen to find a few hundred thousand dollars under your tree this Christmas, we might have an idea on how to invest it!

Finally, perhaps most importantly, is the good news you all have given us. You see, we’re beer geeks through and through and like many of you, we read the threads on RateBeer, Beer Advocate and a handful of other sites. We’ve noticed the threads that have praised our first release, Rorie’s Ale, and have especially taken notice of the personal beer reviews you all have posted on these sites. We cannot express properly what your passion for our beer means to us – honestly, it’s the best therapy for a bad day there is reading this stuff! Rorie’s Ale is currently ranked at #12 for its style on RateBeer, an honor that inspires us to not just make more beer – but to make beer that is deserving of your passion and palate. We look forward to hearing from you more over the years. We’re pretty sure we can’t hit home runs every time we’re at bat, but damn it – we’re gonna try.

Happy Holidays everyone! While we’re delayed and don’t have the beer we wanted to have for you this Christmas, we’re confident that for years to come Odonata Beer Company will have the beer you’re looking for to complement your festive meals and laid-back celebrations. Cheers!

- Peter & Rick


  1. Great news guys!!1 If there is anything I can do to help out please let me know!

    Glynn Phillips

  2. So happy to read that you are still pursuing your talents!! I so wish i had money to help get you your own place! You so have what it takes to create amazing and unique beer, along with a knowledgeable and outgoing personality. I have no doubt that you will Show Sacramento what a "real" Brewery is all about!!


  3. I don't mean to brag, but 8 of the 18 reviews for Rorie's Ale on Ratebeer are a result of bottles I personally shared or traded with other people, and I have another bottle saved for a big tasting in SoCal in February. If you guys keep unloading your beers in Santa Cruz, I'll make sure to continue sharing them.
    Good luck! Looking forward to the saison.