Birra Del Borgo: Re Ale Extra (Italy: IPA: 6.2% ABV)
Visual: Clear yellow. Moderate carbonation. Small white head. Leaves a lot of suds around the glass.
Nose: Crisp lemon and hops. Passion fruit and cheesecake.
Body: Custard. Shortbread. Lemon. Kiwi fruit. Lemon filled hops. Cheesecake. Sherbety. Light crisp bitterness. Green apples. Apricot and melon.
Finish: Kiwi cheesecake. Hop bitterness. Passion fruit. Lemon. Sprite. Jammy. Melon. Jolly ranchers.
Conclusion: Why is this 6.2% darn you? I could session this until I fall over. Which at 6.2% and my rubbish alcohol capacity would not be very long. This is a lovely fresh crisp beer, it mixes custard sweet, lemon fresh and lovely crisp hop bitterneess. It opens up so easily and welcomes you in, but keeps notes back, such as the green apples and kiwi that you only get rolling around underneath when you have had enough time to get used to the beer.
The light sweet notes are the ones put all up front, all cheesecake and sherbet – that is then backed up with that understated bitterness. There is a huge range of flavours, but no matter how many I find it always hints that there may be more underneath. Even after I found the kiwi and passion fruit I kept digging, trying to put words to the hints of elements that I could taste, their description just out of reach.
It is smooth of main body, ridden over by a light hop grit feel. As with taste, the texture hints that there may be more to be found.
But, I return again, why, darn you why is it 6.2%. I know, it is what they needed to make it taste as it does, and I know that some people consider 6.2% sessionable. For me though, I’m old school, and for me 6% and up is a big beer, I wish I could easily drink more of this.
A wonderful, balanced, bitter and easier to drink than its abv should be, beer. Feels like a Belgian IPA with its lovely texture. I don’t know if they used Belgian yeast, but that is how it feels. It has the excellent texture combined with remarkable hop use. So, yes, I am impressed.
Background: Huh, ratebeer says 6.4%, wonder if the keg version is slightly lower abv. It’s about time I returned to Birra Del Borgo, but they are so damn hard to find in the UK. This was found at The Beer Emporium, and as I settled down to review, some Willy Mason came on the sound system. Good tunes were following me that day I tell you, Also, just as I finished my review, some friends arrived, making for good chat as well. A very delightful day of coincidental joy. I approve.