Style: Italian Gueuze with Nebbiolo Grapes
Brewed in: 2013
From: Torino, Italy
Distributer’s Note: “Loverbeer’s tribute to a Gueuze, a 3 year blend of their Biere du Lambic (2009, 2010, 2011) along with the addition of 2012 Nebbiolo grapes that were used for Barolo wine. Biere du Lambic is their base for Beerbrugna without the plums.”
Brewery’s Note: “This beer is fermented with the grapes used to make Barolo wine. While it is blended, it does not qualify as a gueuze.”
The beer pours a rosy amber, almost like a blush wine, though it takes on a dark murkiness in the glass, which is distinctly beerish. The beer forms a small, spritz of soapy bubbles that quickly fizzle away to a scrim. In body, the beer is translucent and clean, but slightly murky and dark. The more I look at the beer, the more it takes on the color of a dark pink ruby. On the nose, the beer smells of a vinous tartness that mellows into a berry blast with hay and barnyard alongside pennies. As it warms, the beer takes a touch more horse blanket character into the nose, and I start to get more and more metallic penny scents. On the tongue, the beer tastes tart and acidic, mellowing into a fruity sweetness with some structured tannic bitters and more acidity. The finish is sweet with a touch of tannic bitters. In flavor, the beer (as my ladylove put it) tastes of Dimetapp grape pops. It begins as a funky, tart lambic blending citrus acidity with touches of grass, hay, and horse blanket. These flavors transition towards sweet grape soda as the sip progresses, bringing in touches of smooth oak barrel and vanilla (though they never fully assert themselves). The finish is a bit like a cheap red wine blended with a middle of the road gueuze. I get hints of red berry character mingling with a ghost of oak roast, and then a nice splash of funky citrus. The aftertaste is that of grape juice with a touch of oak tannin. Throughout the sip, however the penny character lingers and gives the mouth an odd twinge. As the beer warms, the barrel becomes more apparent in the finish, lending an almond flavoring with subtle vanilla and herbs, which I find rather delicious. In the mouth, the beer feels medium + bodied with a tingling effervescence, though little to no noticeable carb, oddly enough. The tongue is left slightly astringent from the oak/grape tannin, while spittle builds towards the back of the throat and a thinner sheen covers the mouth. There is a slight lip smacking feel to the beer as a whole, which is nice. Overall, this is another odd beer. The penny character is a bit too much, but I’m really enjoying the beer as it warms. It is still a little subtle in overall flavor, and to be honest, I had very high hopes for this beer. It’s not perfect, but it tastes nice. The real problem with this beer is that it’s an import, and that the cost of a small bottle is astronomic. It’s a good beer, but it’s not worthy of its price point. If you do purchase it, however, let it warm before you sip it. I liked it more and more as it breathed.