I became aware of this brewery when a local importer began bringing their lovely Vienna lager into my home province, largely to sell to the sizable Italian restaurant market he had built up with his wine imports. Their ales, however, I was less enamoured by, so it was with some trepidation that I uncorked this beautifully packaged strong winter ale.
(One thing you can say for certain about Italian breweries is that they have their aethetics down pat. I don’t know if I’ve come across a single craft beer from Italy that is not at least attractively, and more often gorgeously, packaged.)
I needn’t have worried. Purple-ish brown in colour, this beer, which so far as I can figure is unspiced, has a terrifically appealing nose, with faint allspice accenting a malty, dark and milk chocolate base aroma, along with some plum and candied apricot notes and a whiff of something particularly perfumey, almost lavender-like, in fact. On the palate, it’s a little less complicated, but not so much so that it fails to intrigue with more chocolate, mild brown spice, a bit of roasted hazelnut and a suggestion of gingerbread. The finish is as warming and off-off-dry as it deserves to be. All in all, this is an impressive effort of which this Trieste brewery should be proud.
[On the ratings sites, the closest match for Birra D’Inverno is Theresianer’s Strong Ale.]