Italian Grape Ale
One of the nicest beers we have never tasted is perhaps an Italian Grape Ale, officially recognised as a beer style by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) a few years ago. And much like the early days of many other well-known beer styles we take for granted nowadays (that they’re available year-round), Italian Grape Ale is a seasonal affair. Visit Italy at the wrong time of the year and your hunt for a fresh Italian Grape Ale will prove fruitless, your search for the elusive liquid-ambrosia will be in vain.
Italy deserves its own official beer style, since it has been at the forefront of the craft beer revolution for many years, decades even. Italy is rightly proud of its artisanal brewing.
The profile of an Italian Grape Ale is what can be expected from the name: a refreshing, sometimes complex, Italian Ale characterised by different grape varieties. Grapes are, of course, an essential ingredient in the recipe, and a grape aroma is essential, albeit not overpowering. The rules about the types of hops and malt that can be used are more flexible.
A highlight of our recent Milan trip was encountering Birrificio The Brave and their wonderfully complex, award-winning beers. Massimo Rossi caused us great anticipation by extolling the virtues of Pigia, the brewery’s wine-like Italian Grape Ale — our thirst was truly whetted. However, we were then disappointed to hear it was unavailable at this time of the year. To say we were disappointed is an understatement! However, our Italian correspondent will be dispatched to gather us a batch of Birrificio The Brave’s Pigia as soon as they’re available, and we shall review it here for your delectation.