In his monthly column, Alex Greig from the Fuggles Beer Café and Bottle Shop, savours a taste of Italy’s pioneering craft brewer Birrificio Italiano…
Founded in 1996, Birrificio Italiano was one of the earliest Italian craft breweries – originally starting out as a brewpub in the Lombardy region. Initially the brewery launched two beers – Rossoscura (which has evolved into a strong, dark lager called Bibock) and Tipopils. Tipopils (Tipo + Pils = a kind of Pilsner) is the beer that really gained the brewery its reputation as creating the first ‘Italian pilsner’.
Tipopils was essentially a modern take on a classic style – it was the first ever dry-hopped pilsner. The story goes that it was created out of a mistake, essentially the original batch of beer wasn’t quite what the brewer wanted, so he decided to use a technique known as dry hopping. This gives the beer a richer, fuller flavour. It has added extra depth to the beer and in this case, the noble hops used impart some wonderful depth and a herbal note or two. As a result, Tipopils is revered the world over and we’re really excited to have it here to share this wonderful beer with you.
Alongside Tipopils, the brewery produces a wide range of craft beers, including some ‘Grape Ales’, which are brewed using grape must (the freshly-pressed grape juice which still contains the skins and seeds of the fruit).
Here are my picks from our most recent delivery from Birrificio Italiano:
Bibock – As mentioned, this started out as a different beer and has today evolved into a strong dark lager, brewed with a specific strain of lager yeast. Dry hopped (of course) which gives it a wonderful aroma, the fruitiness well balanced by the nutty, caramel malt tones coming through.
Finisterrae – Their take on the classic Bavarian wheat beer. On the nose there’s the classic subtle spicy aroma, while the taste starts off with some sweet tropical fruits and finishes with a pleasing and refreshing bitterness.
Incrocio Manzoni – One of the beautiful ‘grape ales’ previously mentioned. This is brewed with 20% of wine must from white Incrocio Manzoni grapes. Smooth, slightly tart, with hints of vanilla, elderflower and pear.
Moonshare – This beer, a deep-golden barley wine, is matured in Grappa barrels – it’s a big and powerful beer, warming, rich and with oodles of complexity. One to pair with a strong hard cheese or as we’re nearly at the season, a mince pie or two!