Del Borgo

Birra Del Borgo: Maledetta (Italy: Belgium Ale: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Amber red. Off white thin small bubbly head. Leaves sheets of suds as it descends.

Nose: Condensed cream. Brown sugar. Funky yeast character. Ginger,

Body: Ginger. Jam and doughnuts. Smooth but with funky yeast. Lime. Gooseberry. Brown sugar. Lightly bitter. Coriander. Quite creamy. Toffee. Banana and cloves late on.

Finish: Lime jam. Gooseberry. Dry bitter hops.

Conclusion: Finally, a non collaboration beer from Del Borgo! So, how do they do when brewing on their own?

Actually? Pretty damn well.

It is an odd beer for what is described as a Belgium style ale. Distinctly Belgium Style I will admit, the funky yeast laughs at you if you try to deny that. What is unusual is the spicy ginger zest, tart lime and gooseberry touches. The body is thick, and was referred to as “Jammy” by Brewdog staff which I think is an impeccable call. I would add Doughnut like in as well, the thick and creamy texture feels very bready and with the jammyness gives a very doughnut like feel.

There is spice, which is a common feature of Belgium beers, but here it is ginger and more dry and prickly that the Belgium take.  It seems to be doing the Belgium thing but in its own idiosyncratic way.

So sweet, but not the Belgium richness, spicy but dry, funky but doughnut like. Respectful but its own thing.

Jamminess really is the word, even the gooseberry and lime feels like a jam (or marmalade) take on it. Fills well mid body then dry and spicy to the end.  You don’t always get the element massively evident, the sweetness can wane or swell to soaring crescendo but it always has some influence.

Very much makes you take your time to enjoy the journey from sweet to spice throughout its life and in that it is most authentically like the Belgium ales in that it rewards you for patience, it is also the trait that I feel is the most important for it to authentically reproduce.

A sweet jammy thick but funky textured ale with dry spice and rich character. The first sole De Borgo beer I have had and they are showing great skill and class here.

Background: Italy is one of those beer scenes that has people raving right now, and Birra Del Borgo is one of the names you hear bandied around a lot. I’ve tried two beers from them before, but both as collaborations. This, drunk at Brewdog Bristol, is a chance to try them standing on their own two legs.  Had on tap, which meant I didn’t get chance to take a pic of the bottle which is a pity as it is very eye catching  and pretty. According to the info I copied into google translate this is a variant on Re Ale. Huh, would not have called that. The jamminess was an element staff had mentioned, and when I sipped it I couldn’t help but notice so I can’t take credit for that one.