MENABREA BEER BREWERY - BIELLAJuly 02, 2015
What springs to mind for most British people when it comes to Italian beer is usually Moretti or Peroni but recently Menabrea beer has been finding its way to our shores and making a name for itself here in the UK. When I was invited to Italy to see the production process and learn more about the fascinating back-story of what could be the next big Italian beer to hit the UK - it was an offer that I simply couldn't refuse.
Located in the small city of Biella, the Menabrea brewery is the oldest in Italy. It has been operating for five generations since 1864 and its age-old production process remains largely the same to this day. The beer is brewed underground in caves which provide perfect conditions and its location on the foothills of the Italian Alps means that pure alpine glacial water is utilised to make it.
We started off with a glimpse at the mesmerising bottling process inside Menebrea's state-of-the-art factory; it was like being in an episode of How It's Made. The speed of the process was incredible. Menebrea is one of the most popular beers in both Milan and Turin so a lot of it must be produced to meet the demand.
Despite the fact that we had just landed in Italy and it was only 10am, Franco the managing director grabbed some bottles right off the production line and insisted we try Menabrea beer for ourselves. "It's the freshest beer you will ever taste" he said as he raised his bottle.
The beer was indeed fresh, incredibly so; its malty, hoppy flavor has fruity aromas and hints of citrus. It was very refreshing and drinkable and not as heavy like some other beers can be.
Next we were lead off to a the underground section of the brewery where the fermentation takes place and we were introduced to the various ingredients used to produce the beer, including the hopps.
From the outside, it's hard to imagine that all of that high tech machinery lurks within the historic looking building. It's a shame that the weather happened to be grey and overcast as the foothills of the Italian Alps can usually be seen right on the horizon.
I just love the Italian dining culture; the slow and drawn out socially-orientated dinners that go on for hours and hours and consist of many hearty courses. After witnessing the Menabrea production process from start to finish and enjoying our fair share of the finished product, it was evident that our trip was shaping up to be an Italian booze cruise done properly.
Menabrea beer is available in a number of bars and restaurants across the UK (and hopefully in shops soon to) and if you happen to spot it I highly recommend giving it a try. I am certainly looking forward to my next Menabrea; be it in Italy or back home in the UK.