On Friday, February 8th, Bambino’s (blog sponsor) will host a very special beer dinner. And I do mean very special. This event will be of particular interest if you consider yourself a very serious beer geek. So you think you’ve tried it all, eh? Maybe you haven’t. Information about how to reserve your spot is included below.
Noted for its gourmet pizza and calzones, Bambino’s always has an impressive lineup of draft beers and an equally impressive bottle selection. It is one of the Seattle’s best-kept beer secrets—maybe the best place to get a serious beer in all of Belltown. Recently, Bambino’s was fortunate enough to receive some very special craft beers from Italy. Read about the beers below and you’ll see what I mean.
The chef and owner at Bambino’s, Belle Coelho, recently told me that these beers arrived with some specific instructions about how they should be paired with food. This time, when constructing the pairing menu, she had some guidelines. She did not sound intimidated, but she did sound a bit afraid that she would offend a Brewmaster somewhere if she wasn’t careful.
An Italian craft beer dinner. Who does that?
In case you haven’t heard, craft beer is gaining popularity in Italy. They are not simply importing craft beer; they are brewing it themselves. It would be a stretch to say that Italy is putting down the vino and picking up the birra, but something new is brewing in Italy. Like many other American beer writers, I can only speculate as to why. I think this requires a reconnaissance mission.
From what I have learned, it seems the rise of craft beer in Italy is (at least in part) because young Italians are more mobile and globally connected than previous generations. Once a nation that happily lingered in self-isolation, never concerning itself too much with the outside world, groups of young Italians now show up at beer festivals in Germany and Belgium. They read about things on Facebook. They are connected to the rest of the world and are therefore connected to the world of beer. They are worldly.
It makes sense. Craft beer really isn’t a stretch when you consider Italian sensibilities. They value quality over quantity. They’d rather spent $5 on a pound of really good tomatoes than spend $5 for a big box of bad tomatoes. They appreciate the finer things in life. They artfully and carefully craft their cars, clothes, olive oils and wines, so why not give the same kind of attention to beer? Maybe they don’t possess the same kind of brewing history as Belgium or Germany, but they certainly have the right attitude.
As far as the upcoming beer dinner at Bambino’s is concerned, this is crazy stuff. Who purposefully oxidizes a beer for ten months and ages it for a total of 2.5 years before releasing it? Ethiopian myrrh resin? I don’t even know that is.
ITALIAN BEER DINNER at BAMBINOS
Reservations required. Please call 206-269-2222
February 8th 6PM
Birra del Borgo Rubus con Lamponi
“A romantic love story in a shade of pink between raspberries and our Duchessa. A passionate adventure made of spontaneous and controlled fermentation, passion, time. An extraordinary plot, to be sipped until the last drop. Rubus idaeus – raspberry – is the main character, our spelt beer Duchessa is the starting point. 100 grams of fresh fruit are added for every liter of beer; they start a wild fermentation that gives the beer a unique profile with a marked sharpness, well balanced by the berries’ smell. It perfectly substitutes a pink sparkling wine as an aperitif.”
Served with: Liver Pate + mixed greens salad with Gothberg Farms goat cheese, sunflower seeds, cherry tomatoes and raspberry vinaigrette
Dogfish Head/Birra del Borgo/ La Baladin Birra Etrusca Bronze
“To develop the recipe for Birra Etrusca Bronze, Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione traveled to Rome with molecular archaeologist Dr. Pat McGovern. With the help of Birreria Brother Brewers Leo DeVencenzo of Birra del Borgo and Teo Musso of Baladin, they analyzed drinking vessels found in 2,800-year-old Etruscan tombs. The backbone of Birra Etrusca comes from two-row malted barley and an heirloom Italian wheat. Specialty ingredients include hazelnut flour, pomegranates, Italian chestnut honey, Delaware wildflower honey and clover honey. A handful of whole-flower hops are added, but the bulk bitterness comes from gentian root and the sarsaparilla-like Ethiopian myrrh resin.”
Served with: Etruscan braised quail, wheat berries and kale
Birra Baladin Xyauyu Series
It may be described as an Italian Barley Wine but this beer breaks all standard ideas of what a beer is. Brewed only with water, yeast, malt and hops it undergoes a 25 day primary fermentation. From there it goes through a maturation/aging process following the Solera Method developed centuries ago by the Portuguese and Spanish to perfect their Port and Cherry Wine. The method allows for 18 month oxidation bringing the total aging time to 2.5 years. But is is worth it, oh yes, very worth it.
XYAUYU ETICHETTA ORO
Served with: Fran’s Chocolate truffles