"..Birra Gjulia continue to impress with their varying styles and experiments with grain and grape! The packaging and labelling are exceptional and not to mention wonderfully eye-catching. Already distributed across the restaurants and wine shops of their home country, Gjulia are looking to export not just their products but an expression of fine Italian drinking culture..."
Back in the late Summer of 2015 we received a delivery from the Italian Alturis vineyard, high up in the Friuli hills of North East Italy. Not wine however, but a delightfully packaged pair of craft beers. The brewers wanted to gauge our reaction to their new IPA (Italian Pale Ale) and also their 'Nostrana' Pale Ale. The Zorzettig brothers of Marco and Massimo have a long history of quality wine production, handed down through three generations of their family, and have recently moved into the craft beer production industry. All the barley and wheat used in the making of Gjulia's beers are from their own crops grown on their estate. You can read our feature on Gjulia and the aforementioned beers here.
Fast forward to the early Summer of 2016 and another package arrived at our door from Gjulia. This time we were asked our thoughts on their 'Ribo' (Pale ale), and the oak barrel-aged 'Barley Wine'...
A combination of grape must from the white grape Ribolla Gialla and their pale ale mix of Gjulia's own ingredients has provided an extraordinary beer here. Immediately upon opening there is a wonderful grape must scent oozing from the bottle. Pours a hazy golden yellow with a firm snowy white head. The glass of beer looks stunning next to the eye catching bottle with Gjulia's trademark 'Wind Rose' symbol. A very noticeable musty-grape flavour on the palette, mixed in with the fresh flowery scent and taste of the hops leading to a dry finish. It's curiously crying out to be sampled with delicate dishes of perhaps fish or white meat, and salads.
Barley Wine. (10%)
I completely have the wrong glass for this powerful beer. Gjulia's Barley Wine needs a petite snifter or similar to sip on and take your time over. Aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, the aroma is bourbon-heavy and dark fruits. Mahogany in colour with an off white/beige head, this beer has heavy hits of malt and a spirited bitterness, leading to the overriding taste of vanilla and bourbon. The balance is good with the drink going down very smoothly, no burn or over alcoholic taste. Proper lip-smackingly good via gentle sipping.
Birra Gjulia continue to impress with their varying styles and experiments with grain and grape. The packaging and labelling are exceptional and not to mention wonderfully eye-catching. Already distributing across the restaurants and wine shops of their home country, and having just won 'best brewery award' by the Italian Sommeliers Foundation, Gjulia are looking to export not just their products but an expression of fine Italian drinking culture.
Words - Pete Jackson
Watch this guide to Birra Gjulia