Total Score: 7.9/10
Kindly gifted to me by an Aussie rep (for reviewing purposes) are 5 bottles from a brewery in Italy I have yet to hear of, which is of course surprising given I worked at Plonk! in Canberra a couple years ago (Plonk! having the largest selection of craft beers in Australia). So who are these Birra Baladin peeps? And are they as great as Birra Del Borgo (my current favourite Italian craft brewer)? Thanks to the gift of these bottles I will be able to tell you if they’re good or great… or shit, but judging by a quick glance at their average scores on BeerAdvocate I’m not expecting any shit samples here. On to the beer, Cincin!
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Presents with an eye-pleasing cloudy goldenrod body and a slightly off-white cappuccino foam head that sits firm at half a centimetre. The head agitates easily from the pour, looks great at 6.5% ABV. 8/10.
S: Spicy Belgian-style yeast brings in some interesting fruit esters – bubblegum upfront, apple and mead characters follow. Aroma lingers on the sweet side with a dash of cardamom/mace spice. Not sure if intentional by Birra Baladin but it conjures up images of a medieval banquet and pageantry… lovely stuff, this is an aroma I could sniff all day. 8/10.
T: Intriguingly not as sweet as one would expect from a Belgian counterpart, quite a balance is found between sweet/dry/spice that signals a brew of a highly adaptable nature. Flavours noted as above: Bubblegum/mead esters, cardamom/mace yeast spice, finishing with a dry white wine vinous note. This brew is uniquely Italian craft, much like Birra Del Borgo, with that merging of beer/wine flavours, nice! 8/10.
M: Mid to light bodied, and the Achilles heel of this brew: carbonation, in that it is far too gassy (I noted about 6-7 burps per bottle). We will forgive it one transgression given how the beer tasted though. 7/10.
D: As good an example of an Italian-Belgian Pale Ale gets IMO. Apart from the gassy nature of this brew there was little to criticize it for: flavourwise it was interesting and tasty, with flavours I enjoy in a beer, aroma = great, appearance = also great… so yeah, looks like there’s a new contender on the horizon for Doc’s favourite Italian craft brewer, although Birra Del Borgo so far are the more creative brewer in my eyes. However I do have 4 more Birra Baladin beers to go, they may still yet wrest that crown! 8/10.
Food match: Like a white wine – very versatile, salads and game meats/nuts FTW.