Tag Archives: Italy

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 14 – White Pony Dark Signs

Photo Credit

Day 14, amazing. It seems like every year the progress through this calendar goes fast. I always enjoy it and I am again this year. I hope that folks enjoy reading these write-ups. I find it interesting to learn about the various breweries and to remind myself about the styles. For the local beer scene, I’ve got some news I’ll be putting out tomorrow. Lots of things happening around town and great beers available from local breweries now!

Today’s beer comes to us from an Italian microbrewery called White Pony. It is a Belgian Strong Ale that has had a post fermentation addition of orange peel and coriander.

White Pony is in the Citta di Padova in Italy. This small town in the northern part of the country is only 92 square kilometres but boasts a population of 214,000. That gives a population density of 2300 people living on each square kilometer. That’s quite a packed town. White Pony is the project of the son of an Italian-Belgian family who has a passion for brewing beers in the Belgian style. Using Belgian yeasts, bottle fermentation, they make unpasteurized, unfiltered and bottle conditioned beers.

They brew a variety of different beers throughout the year to compliment their core beers. They focus on trying to be innovative while still sticking to some of the old brewing traditions. They even have a barrel aging program for some of their beers.

The style of beer we are trying today is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale. To compare, Belgian Darks are similar in strength to a Belgian Tripel but they don’t have quite the hop profile. They are more like a big dubbel and border on being called a Quadrupel. They are heavily malted, very sweet and bring dark fruit notes along with subtle spice elements. They are smooth, almost creamy, and bring a rich complexity of flavours that, when done right, can be dangerously easy to drink. Let’s get to it.

Appearance – Pours a dark amber with a thin, quickly fading, beige head.
Smell – Big caramel malt sweetness, candied sugar, plum, figs, and some real booze notes in there too.
Taste – That candied sweetness comes through right at the beginning before giving way to some of the more malt forward caramel sweetness and that dark fruit. The finish is smooth, sweet, and warming.
Mouth feel – Full bodied, smooth, sweet warm finish.
Overall – This is exactly what I’d expect from this style of beer. It brings big malt sweetness along with candied sugar, dark fruit notes and rich smooth and complex overall profile. There are subtle spice notes in there at the finish and this beer is rather easy to sip.
Do I like it? 
– I really did like this. I think that it represented exactly what it should and brought a beautifully complex and delicious beer. It’s dangerous, given that the nearly 12% of alcohol in it is hard to identify. I wouldn’t drink more than one of these.

 

Day 24 – White Pony – December Flower


So, I want to apologize for the formatting of these write-ups. Being away for holidays means I’m writing on my phone. Transferring from Word to WordPress apparently leaves behind all the formatting. So, I’ll add hyperlinks when I get home. I’ll also be doing the wrap-up once I get back so look for that.
I can’t believe we are on the last beer. It’s been a great calendar this year. What’s been fun is looking back at old posts and realizing how much I’ve learned about beer and beer styles. My old posts seem a bit goofy. Our last beer comes to us from White Pony Microbrewery located in Padova, Italy.

White Pony was founded as an experiment for an Italian son of an Italian-Belgian family. Unable to find a job that would meet his need for experimentation, creativity and knowledge, he decided to create on for himself. They entered their first beer, prophet bourbon réserva, into the Kerst Bier festival in 2013 and placed in the top 10. In 2014 they entered the beer we have today, December Flower, and three others into the same competition that were all rated in the top 50 Italian beers. They’ve continued to win medals and awards for their beers and have continued experimenting and growing their styles.

Now producing 18 beers they continue to experiment with limited release beers and seasonal trying to push their creativity and build their brewing knowledge.

December flower is a Belgian golden strong ale brewed with a lot of candies sugar, orange peel, and two strains of yeast. It is then dry-hopped and a second addition of orange peel and coriander is added. Combined with the yeast waters this beer is meant to bring big fruity flavours and a nice warming quality for the cold winter nights.

Belgian Golden Strong Ales are pale, complex, effervescent and highly attenuated Belgian styles of beer. They bring big fruity notes along with hoppy notes and phenolic from the yeast. Interestingly, there are many references to the devil in he naming of this style of beer. This is due to the high alcohol content and a tribute to the original example of this style (Duvel). The best examples are highly complex and delicate with the carbonation bringing out the flavours. I’m excited as it’s the last beer and I’m hoping it’s a delicious one.

Appearance – Pours a golden effervescent colour with no head.

Smell – Floral notes, orange, yeast, candy sugar and subtle coriander.

Taste – sweet candy, orange, subtle coriander and pepper note with an alcohol warmth.

Mouth feel – effervescent, light bodied with an alcohol warmth on finish.

Overall – Good Belgian style strong ale. Flavours are nice and fruity with a good alcohol warmth. The champagne yeast brings an effervescence which makes some of those fruit notes pop.

Do I like it? – I did. It was nice and fruity and crisp. Good alcohol warmth and nice candied notes. Overall a good finish to the calendar.

Day 18 – Birrificio Del Ducato – Molotov

Sunday funday. It’s a pretty cold one out there today and, it’s the last week of the advent calendar. Pretty darn sad that once again we are winding our way down to the end. It’s always a really nice treat to have these beers each day. Luckily, I’ve recruited my brother-in-law from Calgary to bring me some treats when he comes for the holidays. So, even though the calendar will be done, I’ll hopefully have some fun beers to try.

Today’s beer comes to us from another repeat brewery, Birrifico Del Ducato and it is a Spicy Strong Ale called Molotov.

Italy is not typically thought of for its beers.  As one of the most prolific wine producers in the world it is understandable why.  I had the opportunity to visit Italy last summer and found that there are quite a number of craft breweries around the country.  I tried all the ones I came across and was rather impressed.  I told my wife that I was likely one of the few people who is in Italy and seeks out craft beer.

Birrifico Del Ducato is located in a small village called Roncole Verdi which is located in the Parma region of Italy. Parma is famous for its “parma ham” (prosciutto) as well as fizzy wines such as Lambrusco and Malvasia. Roncole Verdi is also the birthplace of composer Giuseppe Verdi from which this brewery draws some inspiration.

The brewery is run by Giovanni Campari, brewmaster, and Manuel Piccoli, entrepreneurial mind.  They harvest their ingredients as often as possible by visiting the farms and selecting the hops, malts and barleys that they will use in their beers. The produce a number of beers all year round as well as seasonal beers released only at specific times of year.

The style we have today is a Strong Ale brewed with Wasabi. I had a challenging time determining exactly what style of beer was used as the base for this. It would be classified as an Herb/Spice/Vegetable beer. While a lot of the characteristics depend on the base, this is a catch all category for beers that use additions like spices, pumpkin, etc.… With a name like Strong Ale it is likely brewed in the style of either a Belgian Strong Ale or an English Strong Ale. It’ll be interesting to see.

It’s the wasabi that gives this beer the spice to call it spicy. It’s also what’s behind the name, Molotov. Wasabi is likely known to any sushi lovers as that green paste that comes with your meal. It’s hot, but a different kind of hot. It’s a Japanese horseradish and is pretty good at clearing your sinuses. I’m interested to see how it fits with this style of beer.

Appearance – Pours a hazy golden yellow with a good 1” white head and effervescent carbonation.
Smell – Smells of biscuit malt, toffee and a bit of wasabi in the back of the nose.
Taste – Sweet right up front with notes of caramel and chocolate. There is a slightly metallic twinge before the wasabi note comes on the finish. Wasabi is subtle and just noticeable on the back of the tongue.
Mouth feel – Medium body with medium carbonation and effervescent bubbles.
Overall – Falls a little short. The flavor of the wasabi is so subdued by the sweetness of the malt that it’s almost unnoticeable. While the beer is pleasant and the sweetness with the slight wasabi isn’t unpleasant, the beer comes across more as a middle of the road golden ale.
Do I like it?
– I found this beer to be a bit “meh”. While it was good and I didn’t find myself thinking it was unpleasant, the wasabi really didn’t come across for me and it left me a bit disappointed. With a label that says “brewed with wasabi and an appetite for destruction” I had higher hopes. Still, it wasn’t bad, just slightly disappointing.

 

Day 1 – Birrifico Del Doge – APA

day-1-birrifico-del-doge-apa

As with every year, opening up that first advent calendar tab is incredibly exciting.  It brings me back to when I was a kid and my mom would buy us an advent calendar with little chocolates inside. Every day was a different chocolate and every day was a little bit of excitement.  Translate that to an adult version with beer instead of chocolate, I’m a happy camper. Nostalgic.

So, like I did last year, with sincere anticipation I opened the first tab and lo and behold, it was Birrifico Del Doge’s APA. I had the opportunity to visit some craft breweries in Italy. While not typically known for beer, being the largest producer in the world of wine, what I tasted was quite good. So I’m interested to see what this one is like.

Birrifico Del Doge (Doge’s Brewery) is located in Zero Branco (Treviso) Italy and is self-described as an “Italian crafted German beer”.  Zero Branco is located on the expanse of the Paduan plain between the cities of Venice and Treviso. The local landscape is characterized by its beauty and network of waterways including the river for which the town is named, River Zero.

Doge’s Brewery takes great pride in their brewing and selects only the highest quality ingredients to use in its beer. Brewing was originally a hobby for the brothers who founded Doge’s Brewery, but once they got a taste for brewing they knew they needed to take it further. In 2012 the Guiman brothers partnered with brewer Federico Casarin to create Doge’s Brewery. ‘Doge’ brewery’s main values include attention to quality, meticulous selection of raw materials, use of source water, deep passion and a desire to impress.

Birrificio del Doge produces eight types of craft beers as well as the occasional specialty brew.  They take pride in attention to detail and quality and say on their website that “We do not bottle-condition our beer, but decant the yeast, which affords Doge’s Brewery beer its hallmark clarity.”

American Pale Ales (APA) are, obviously, pale, refreshing and well hopped but with the right amount of malt backbone to balance the beer. The opportunity to select from hops can give this beer a range and either reflect classic hops or new world hops. Generally, an APA is more accessible than an IPA while still providing a hop forward flavour.

The APA is a modern American craft beer adaptation of the English pale ale. These beers tend to reflect ingredients that can be sourced by the brewery locally. While these beers are an American craft beer invention, the desire to source locally means that this Italian version will hopefully have a little bit of that old world flare.

Prior to the explosion of popularity of the IPA, the American Pale Ale was the most well-known and popular of the American craft beer styles. Without further ado, time to taste the beer.

Appearance – Pours golden blonde with a thin ½” white head that retains well.
Smell –  Citrus notes reminiscent of lemon and grapefruit with a soft floral hop aroma.
Taste –  Mild hop bitterness that is compliment by a very subtle malty sweetness with notes of lemon, grapefruit.
Mouth feel
– Light mouth feel with soft bitterness on the start and mild carbonation. Finishes with a light lingering bitterness.
Overall – Subtle hop complimented with malt sweetness that balances well and presents an approachable mildly hoppy beer.
Do I like it?
– I did like it. This beer was light, floral, and had some good hop notes to it. These days I find myself leaning towards bolder beers and so, while this one was good, and I did like it, it’s not one I’d be clamoring to grab.

 

Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 5

Beer 5

My wife was asking me yesterday if this was getting less exciting.  I told her that there is no way getting to try a brand new beer from around the world could get less exciting, at least for me.  Today’s fifth beer comes to us from Italy.  It is a season beer from Birrifico del ducato (Ducato Brewery) and it is called Krampus.

Italy is not typically thought of for its beers.  As one of the most prolific wine producers in the world it is understandable why.  I had the opportunity to visit Italy last summer and found that there are quite a number of craft breweries around the country.  I tried all the ones I came across and was rather impressed.  I told my wife that I was likely one of the few people who is in Italy and seeks out craft beer.

Birrifico Del Ducato is located in a small village called Roncole Verdi which is located in the Parma region of Italy. Parma is famous for its “parma ham” (prosciutto) as well as fizzy wines such as Lambrusco and Malvasia. Roncole Verdi is also the birthplace of composer Giuseppe Verdi from which this brewery draws some inspiration.

The brewery is run by Giovanni Campari, brewmaster, and Manuel Piccoli, entrepreneurial mind.  They harvest their ingredients as often as possible by visiting the farms and selecting the hops, malts and barleys that they will use in their beers. The produce a number of beers all year round as well as seasonal beers released only at specific times of year.  Krampus, the beer I will be trying, is one of those seasonal beers.

Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved ones with gifts. Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children in his sack and carry them away to his lair.  This beer draws inspiration from Belgian beers.  It features 9 different spices and is similar in style to the winter warmer I had on day one.  The difference here is that this lighter and produced in the style of the Belgian wheat beers like I explained yesterday.  This is why beer is so exciting.  You can mix and meld styles based on your brewing technique and the ingredients you include. This particular beer sits at 7% alcohol.  Now, let’s get on to the beer!

Rating: 70/100

Appearance: Nut brown with a reddish hue and about 1.5” of head that dissipates slowly.
Smell: Cranberry is front and center with smells of other spices typically used in mulling.
Taste: When I read that this is styled after Belgian beers I thought it was the more common Wheat beer like yesterdays.  It is, however, not.  It is styled after the Belgian fruit beers similar to Fruili.  Cranberry juice is present and is the most front and center flavour.  Sour cranberry candies is the best way to describe the taste.  This overwhelms any other malts or hops that may be in the beer.
Mouth feel: Strong carbonation almost like a soft drink, coarse, medium body.
Overall: Not what I was expecting.  I do my best to keep these parts of the neutral.  So, for a fruit style Belgian beer it is quite good.  The sour candy flavour is one that is pleasant and people who like this style of beer would really enjoy this one.  My wife, who does, really liked it.
Do I like it: I am not a fan of these styles of beer.  While I try to keep an open mind, I do not at all like this one.  It is my least favourite thus far.  I do have to note that my scores do not take this into account.  I just do not like it, personally.

Thanks for reading along.  I hope you are enjoying it.  Looking forward to tomorrow’s beer!