Howdy, Nation! Squigs here. The Happy Hour Guys were recently invited by our pal Adam Levy – "The Alcohol Professor" and founder of the New York International Beer Competition in its exciting inaugural year – to experience the fine wares from the 2012 NYIBC International Brewery of the Year.
Collesi comes to us from Apecchio, a small town in the foothills of the Italian Alps. Giuseppe Collesi was looking for ways to diversify the offerings of his family farm, and research led him to form Fabbrica della Birra Tenute Collesi. Working in Belgian style ale production and taking advantage of the resources at hand – the water coming out of the mountains and the grains and malts from the land his family has been cultivating since the early 1870s – Giuseppe created an absolutely wonderful line of artisinal beers. Speaking of the water, the minerality of the land seems to affect a crispness to the beers that is somewhat unique to Italian beers. Collesi's offerings are the true bounty of his home. We sampled the Chiara (wheat), Bionda (blonde), Ambrata (amber), Rosa (red), Nera (stout), and Triplo Malto (triple malt). I particularly enjoyed the Rosa which was full-bodied with a lovely sweetness, the Nero which was surprisingly light for a stout but with great flavor including a lot of cappuccino, and the Triplo Malto which is created with, yes, triple the normal malt (more sugars, more alcohol) resulting in a refreshing but complex blend of fruit and yeast and malt. The Triplo Malto might be enjoyed as one would drink champagne.
Collessi is indeed looking toward distribution in the US, and this will be aided by their new state of the art brewing facility opening this autumn. So, keep an eye out for these fine artisinal craft ales with roots deep in the Italian countryside. That's what's HOPpenin', y'all!