‘Birra di Natale’ (Christmas beer) combined with the sweet ‘Pandolce Genovese’ is an explosion of taste. Both these products are realized by Fabbrica Birra Busalla, located in the Apennines close to Genova, the regional capital of Liguria. This brewery resumed one of the historic Italian brands which already in the early twentieth century met great success. Pine nuts, candied fruits, and sultana, of which ‘Pandolce’ is rich, form an organoleptic balance characterized by a rare intensity, alongside with spicy notes coming from ginger and nutmeg of the ‘Birra di Natale’, which distinguishes itself for its full and round body.
This is an excellent result for Lorenzo Devoto, who in 1999 opened his brewery occupying the same locals used by ‘Birra Busalla’. This company was established in 1906 and in 2011 was included in the Register of the historic Italian companies. It was founded by three courageous entrepreneurs: Giacomo Ricchini, Giovanni Magnasco, and Sisto Poggi. They set themselves the aim of achieving an ambitious industrial complex, which was able to gradually increase its production up to 25 thousand hectolitres yearly. However, the First World War put this company in a difficult position, because it was not able to procure the necessary raw materials, so that in 1929 it was forced to close down.
After such a long period of silence, Lorenzo revived this brand, by taking advantage of the favour met in Italy by artisanal beers. Even if he draws inspiration from German brewers’ work, Devoto gives additional values to his labels, also by using precious ingredients of his land. He explains: «By the way, this happens with ‘Castagnasca’, the first beer produced in Italy 'dressed up' with organic stone grinded chestnut flour; ‘Rosa’, produced with barley malt with the addition of rose petals; and ‘Miele’, enriched with the natural sweetener given by bees’.
The catalogue of labels proposed by Birra Busalla, which currently produces about 700 hectolitres a year, ranges from low-fermented beers to high-fermented ones, highlighting the seasonal production. Next to the factory there is a Brew Pub, where the beers can be sipped with tasty courses, with a careful selection of meats and cheeses.
Birra di Natale (6.9% alcohol): it has an amber colour tending to orange. Its scent distinguishes itself for its aromas of spices, ginger, and nutmeg, with light notes of yeast and alcohol. Its flavour is characterized by a medium structured body, which makes its drinkability simple, non-binding. This low-fermented lager beer is suitable to accompany Christmas cakes, especially ‘Pandolce Genovese’.
Castagnasca (5.5% alcohol): its look is characterized by a slightly amber colour. Its scent gives pleasant notes of chestnut, not intrusive, which accompany a slightly smoked hint, as a result of the wood used in order to dry the fruit typical of the Apennine of Liguria. Its flavour is full-body. Its sweet and bitter taste create a pleasant balance. It is a low-fermented beer. For its uniqueness, it deserves to be tasted with courses prepared with mushrooms.
Rosa (5.5% alcohol): it has a pale golden colour, with reflections of light. Its scent is delicately aromatic. Its flavour is refreshing and allows a good drinkability. A curiosity: it is produced exclusively in June, during the picking of the petals of a particular local rose used for the production of syrup.
Miele (5% alcohol): with its deep golden colour, in its scent, wildflower honey is clearly perceptible, although with discretion. Its flavour distinguishes itself for the sweet notes of honey, partly softened on the finish by the bitter taste of the hops used. It is a low-fermented beer, produced seasonally every year in limited quantities with the addition of organic wildflower honey.
Pepa (5.5% alcohol): with a right golden colour, its scent distinguishes itself for its spicy notes of coriander and black pepper. Its flavour is fruity, with delicate spicy notes. It is a saison beer inspired by the homonymous Belgian style.
IPA (6.3% alcohol): it has an intense golden colour with orange reflections; its scent distinguishes itself for the fruity notes coming from the American hops used in important amounts in a double dry-hopping. In its flavour, the sweet notes of malt support the bitter taste and ensure balance of intense tastes. It is an American Pale Ale.
Müller (5% alcohol): its look is characterized by a bright golden colour. Its scent proposes delicate herbal notes of hop. In its flavour, the initial bitter sensation is attenuated while it is drunk, remaining pleasant in its aftertaste. It is pleasantly drinkable and refreshing. It is a light lager beer, in the traditional German style. It is very pleasant as an aperitif.
Ambra barricata (6.5% alcohol): its look is characterized by a bright amber colour. Its scent is full of ‘barricade’ notes, reminding the ones of peaty whiskeys. As for its flavour, it differs from its sister ‘Ambra’ for its ageing and contact with the oak that gives it intense aromas of wood, harmoniously blended with peaty notes. It is a double malt beer, which can be enjoyed with friends, possibly accompanied by dried fruit.