Tag Archive: Birra Del Borgo


ReAle Extra

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.

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.

CIMG2161

Birra Del Borgo: Dogfish Head: My Antonia (Italy: Imperial Pils: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to gold. Large custard sudded yellowed head.

Nose: Custard. Peach and hops. Very good hoppiness of a clinging style. Light toffee.

Body: Bitter but not too heavy. Apricot. Very smooth creamy texture. Custard. Cinnamon. Granite rough touch very occasionally. Tangerine.

Finish: Creamy. Moderate bitterness. Cinnamon. Hops. Peach and grapefruit.

Conclusion: I love the words continually hopped. I’ve never seen a beer with those words attached that turned out to be a bad beer. Guess it helps that I normally see them linked with Dogfish Head beers.  Normally I see them linked with IPA’s, here linked to an Imperial Pils it ends up with a beer that pretty much destroys any expectations of the style that I had.

Now, that does mean as an example of the style it may not be the best. As a beer however? Damn!

It is smooth, creamy, lots of apricot fruitiness and with solid but not extreme bitterness. I can really see the dogfish head influence stamped over the hop style. It is very much like a lager take on their 90 minute IPA. I’ve yet to get a full grip of the Birra Del Borgo style, but this matches the quality I have seen from them so far.

It is an easy drinking Imperial Pils,  IPA like beer then. As you would expect it is lighter than an IPA and with dominance of a few key flavours rather than a larger range, but with good bitterness and well defined aroma and flavour.

Tastes almost Belgium yeast IPA style in smoothness. It has that creamy full texture to it that I would associate with that style. There is very little bad to say about this beer. Maybe not what you expect from a pils, maybe a half way point between pils and IPA and if you prefer either style a pure example would do that better.  However, sod it, this is lovely.

It is eminently drinkable, well hopped and flavoursome with good texture. You may prefer more pure styled beers at the top of their style but I can’t see anyone being disappointed with this delicious beer.

Background: After the last Birra Del Borgo I had, their collaboration with Brewdog, I decided I really should try more of their stuff to get a feel fro their brewery. So I did, another collaboration. One day I must try a beer they just made themselves. From the look of it there are two versions of this beer, the dogfish head and the Birra Del Borgo. This is the Birra Del Borgo. This beer was drunk at Brewdog Bristol after a long discussion with the staff on exactly which beer I should try next. So blame them. Honest. I love Dogfish head beers but they are very hard to get over in the UK these days as they are concentration on supplying the USA. Not seen the Dogfish Head version anywhere. I wonder if any of the booze dancers have given it a review? (Edit: Answer: Yes, Yes they do)

CIMG2110

Birra Del Borgo: Brewdog: ReAle In A Kilt (Italy: Scotch Ale: 8.4% ABV)

Visual: Caramel to brown, large loose mounded froth for a head of custard cream biscuit colour. Head leaves lace around the glass.

Nose: Smoked kippers. Pineapple. Smoked salami. Muted cherry. Marmalade. Cinnamon.

Body: Smoked and rocks. Cherry and fruitcake. Marmalade and grapefruit.

Finish: Peat. Salt and smoke. Tangerines. Pink grapefruit tart tang.

Conclusion: So, a peat smoked beer. With the peat smoked golden ale Rex Attitude I wanted more complexity. Here comes a contender, how does it do? Initially it seems very smoky and heavy, lots of peat, smoked kippers and meat. Not very subtle.  This was pretty heavily chilled down due to the current cold snap.

Then to my surprise marmalade in a Dalmore style started showing up, then sharp pink grapefruit pushed through.  There is some of the expected scotch ale fruitcake flavours but only really as a backing for the fresh sharp hops and heavy smoke.

I will give Rex Attitude the advantage in being a bigger and more “event” beer, but this beer gives much more flavour and intrigue which is what I look for in a beer combined with the nice peat smoke element . This beer has a similar clash of expectations to Rex Attitude as well. There it has the huge peat versus golden ale, here it is the sharp citrus against peat.   Frankly it makes me intrigued to try more from the Italian brewer as the base beer seems to be what makes it special, with the Brewdog contribution a flourish on top.  I would have to try the base beer to confirm but that is the current impression I get.

I have tried this beer at warmer temperatures and I found the peat smoke dominates too much like that. Much as this would shock the younger writing version of me I would say that you want to give this a nice bit of chilling down to let the citrus come out a bit.

A tangerine tart, citrus, peat smoked beer. That is just mixed up, fun, and gives you a lot of room to play and enjoy.  A well balanced and thoroughly fun beer.

(Note: You know, I don’t mind not drinking bad beers, but if my reviews keep being this positive people are going to think I’ve gone soft in my old age)

Background: Bloody mid word capitalization, and yes I do realise with my number of grammatical and spelling errors I am in no position to question a deliberate stylistic choice. Still…In good news a chance to break out the thistle glass again, I love the look of it, but it is a tad silly for most beers. Thought it gets more use than my Kwak glass. Maybe I should get in some more Belgium beers so I have an excuse to bring it out. I’ve not tried the original ReAle but this collaboration is a tweaked version of that which uses much more peat smoked malt if I remember correctly. Italy is meant to be the up and coming exciting place in the craft beer scene right now. Yet I’ve drunk nearly nothing from there. I really should sort that out at some point.

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