If someone mentioned the words 'Italian beer' to you, what would immediately spring to mind? An ice cold Birra Moretti in the sun? Or maybe a chilled Peroni to accompany your Napolitana? Well start thinking again beer lovers, because craft beer isn't exclusive to the USA and UK as we all know, and more European countries are fast becoming major players in the hops, hops and more hops world of lovely crafted ales. With that in mind, let me bring to your attention to craft beer from Italy by Gjulia, brewed high up in the hills of Friuli, North East Italy. Brothers Marco and Massimo Zorzettig are also proud producers of fine wines from their Alturis vinyards, handed down from three generations of their family.
Gjulia was founded three years ago, thanks to the passion and dedication for their growing love of craft beer. The idyllic micro-climate there has forged success through the areas natural conditions to produce high quality wines, and so too it seems for their craft beer brewery. All barley, wheat and hops used in the production of Gjulia beers are grown and harvested within the Alturis estate, pure water from springs of Monte Mia provide a crucial element to the beers qualities.
With some of their regular beers already on the shelves here in the UK, we were kindly asked our thoughts on their new creation – The IPA (Italian Pale Ale!)...
Before we get to the beer and the tasting notes, it must be said that the overall eye-catching product looks first class and has an immediate sign of high quality about it. The brewery symbol is the striking Wind Rose which is found both on caps and labels. Accompanying the beer in our delivery is a beautiful Gjulia booklet, telling us a little about the brewery and its various beer creations over its many pages. Attention to detail and fine photography illustrate yet more high class production within the company and I think many other producers of beer would do well to take note of this.
Upon immediate opening of the 750 ml bottle, intense hop aromas come from within - big, juicy hits of citrus. This is going to be a beer packed with big flavours. Pouring a hazy, golden yellowy/orange in colour, the beer looks every bit as impressive as I'd hoped it would be from the outside. Carbonated very well, it provides a thick white head of foam with the yellowy/orange of the beer remaining a tantalising hazy liquid beneath (a bottle conditioned trait). Initially quite bitter on the tongue, heavily citrusy and a bold but well balanced flavour. These qualities quickly subside into a thirst quenching, smooth and soft bitterness. Some floral notes and the citrus combine to leave a lasting finish which makes this drink a difficult one to put down! A handy 'stopper' lies within the opened cap, enabling the beer to be closed for later drinking. That's the idea anyway. This one is most definitely going to provide me with a second glass right away. A total pleasure to drink.
Alongside the IPA all the way from Italy, Gjulia also enclosed a bottle of their Nostrana organic ale for us to try...
Naturally, this beer is a thinner, lighter drink than Gjulia's IPA. Perhaps the tasting should have been the other way around in an ideal world, but it was the Italian Pale Ale we were asked initially to give our thoughts on, and this pale ale is a welcomed bonus. A paler golden/blonde in colour, the head is again very long lasting with nice lacing. Once again, the natural sediment in the bottle pours a slight haze. Much crisper and lighter than the IPA as you'd expect, with a fresh, grassy, fruity taste. Hints of a Belgian beer in the undercurrents, perhaps due to the yeast? Yet again this is a highly drinkable and refreshing beer which is much more subtle and delicate with its flavours and aromas than that of the IPA.
Words - Pete Jackson
MANY THANKS TO THE PEOPLE AT BIRRIFICIO GJULIA FOR SENDING OUT THESE BEERS FOR US TO REVIEW. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS OF THE BEERS ARE OUR OWN.