29 days, 29 Ales - 'Beer of the Day' recap
This might be the longest post in the history of the world
About a month ago I came up with a new segment called "Beer of the Day". I decided to post a new picture of a different beer every day and I was well aware that I was only going to be able to do it for a month.
So this is basically a recap of all the beers I've shared in February and I would very much encourage you to tell me what you think and/or if you've got any suggestions to keep this segment alive. I'm currently thinking about doing a "Beer of the Week", which is a lot more sustainable for practical reasons. I'm also considering using the geographical element and sharing something that's somehow related to travelling.
February 1 : Admiral 32
Admiral 32 is an Amber-coloured top-fermented (at 14-30° C, using ale or wines with high alcohol content) beer with 6.3% ABV. It is quite strong, beer experts would probably call it "full-bodied", and close to what I'd call "my cup of tea". Or rather my pint of beer.
February 2 : La Mi' Pisa
La Mi' Pisa is an Amber/Lager style beer made in Pisa (duh) by La Mi' Birra brewery. Now before I talk about the beer I want to talk about the name but it features clever wordplay. " La Mi' is Tuscan dialect for "my/my own". So basically this is My Own Pisa made by My Own Beer, part of the of the My Own family which also features the My Own Blonde, My Own Amber and My Own Weiss. It actually goes beyond that because " La Mi' " also means "she (does something) to me". For example, the brewery also makes a beer called " La Mi' Vizia" and in this instance, the name actually means "she spoils me". Cheeky wordplay aside, this is up there with the best. It's a relatively light, despite being hoppy and with 6.3 % ABV, amber ale. If you ever happen to be anywhere near Pisa, you should try it.
February 3 : Guerrilla
This beer is made by a brewery called CR/AK in Italy which means that most people call it "crack" instead of "C.R.A.K" because that's basically how Italian works. This award-winning (beer of the year and Helsinki Beer Festival) is the Guerrilla IPA, a cracking name for a cracking beer (pun intended). Most IPAs typically fall in the 5-7% ABV range, this one is 5.8% and that is, in my humble opinion, just about perfect because anything over it is excessive and anything under it makes a little... weak. I mean IPAs are supposed to be strong and hoppy and rich in taste, aren't they?
February 4 : LAV
LAV ("lion" in Serbian) is the second best-selling beer in Serbia (after Jelen). The brand was originally founded in 1892, a lifetime ago, but it has been part of the Carlsberg group (Denmark) since the early 1980s. LAV is exactly what you think it is. A popular, highly drinkable lager with 5% ABV. Drinking LAV in Serbia is the same as drinking Moretti in Italy or Estrella in Spain: it is the obvious choice. I've got a very strong personal connection with this beer because A, I've got a very strong personal connection with Serbia in general and B, it was the first beer I had, fresh off the plane, on my very first night in Belgrade. 🇷🇸🍺
February 5 : Samuel Smith Extra Stout
There's actually a direct connection between this beer and Foodtribe because the photograph you see here was taken at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in London (opened in 1538, currently owned and operated by Samuel Smith brewery) in November last year with our very own Ben, Migz and Valentina from the DT/FT family. Anyway, Samuel Smith Extra is a creamy stout with 4.5% ABV. Beer is always best served cold but I think that stouts should be even colder. The colder the better. Would you agree? Let me know in the comments.
February 6 : Maltus Faber Ambrata
Ambrata is an Amber Ale made by Maltus Faber, a microbrewery based in Genoa, Italy. Despite its 7% ABV (and an unimaginative name), Ambrata is lighter, as well as sweeter, than you'd expect and that's a potential problem because you just keep wanting more.
February 7 : In the Pit
A few months ago I was in Los Angeles for the LA Auto Show and one day, on my way home after the show, I accidentally found what must the best brewery/pub in the whole of LA. It's called Southland Beer (in K Town), they have an insane selection of canned beers and this is one of the best I've tried. It's called In the Pit and it's a classic West Coast IPA, rich and fruity, with 7.5 % ABV. I've tried a few more beers at Southland and I'll be sharing info and pictures later this month. Cheers!
February 8 : Ale Works Camouflage
This is Camouflage IPA by Ale Works brewery in Hawthorne, California. There's a lot to say about this beer. First of all, the can design is great with a pixelated camouflage theme with gold/bronze writings, it works brilliantly. Secondly, this is a 7.5% ABV West Coast IPA which, according Ale Works, is specifically brewed to leave pineapple taste in your mouth. That's a bit weird but it works. Great beer.
February 9 : Arrogant Bastard Ale
Yes, for the third day in a row we've got a California connection because Arrogant Bastard Ale, just like In the Pit and Camouflage, comes from California. Arrogant Bastard is an American Strong Ale, brewed by Arrogant Consortia in Escondido, and it is an extremely "aggressive" beer (I'm quoting), with 7.2 % ABV a very distinctive, pungent taste. Make sure you have somewhere to sit or lie down before you open a can or a bottle.
February 10 : Brewdog Nanny State
There's no other way of saying this, so I'll just get straight to the point: this is a alcohol-free beer. It's a beerless beer. Well, technically it actually isn't because the ABV is 0.5% but that hardly makes a difference. Brewdog makes a cracking IPA called Punk and this is supposed to be the ultra-low ABV equivalent. It's not bad but I don't think it has the richness and the... solidity you'd expect from a good ol' ale.
February 11 : Goose Island IPA
IPA is arguably Goose Island's most popular beer and it is, exactly as advertised, an India Pale Ale. It's brewed by Goose Island Brewery, founded in Chicago (IL) in 1988 and it's mildly strong but very bitter in taste, with 5.9% ABV. I think it's the perfect beer if you want your IPAs to be full-on IPAs.
February 12 : Brooklyn Brewery IPA
Yes yes, it's yet another IPA but this is no ordinary IPA, this is Brooklyn Brewery's East IPA. It is, as the name suggests, brewed in Brooklyn, New York and it comes with 6.9% ABV. So yeah, it isn't the lightest beer in the world but it's refreshing and rich and consistent and that, at the end of the day, is all you need from an IPA.
February 13 : My Antonia
Named after the 1918 novel by American author Willa Cather, My Antonia is a "continually-hopped" imperial pilsner brewed by Birra del Borgo in Italy with both American and European hops. Because of its high ABV (7.5%) and the explosion of taste thanks to the use of different hops, this pilsner actually tastes like an IPA because it is richer and stronger, and with more texture, than your average pilsner beer. Definitely one of my favourite beers at the moment.
February 14 : Martellina
There’s lot on our plate in today’s episode of Beer of the Day. Firstly, Happy Valentine’s Day! Secondly, I’m going to a beer festival tomorrow in Rimini and I can't wait. And thirdly, today’s beer is a personal favourite: Martellina, made in my hometown. Martellina, which is Italian for Little/Small Hammer, is a honey-flavoured Belgian ale brewed in Florence by Mostodolce, a local micro-brewery. Over the years, as you can imagine, I’ve consumed enormous quantities of Martellina. It’s very sweet, something I wouldn’t normally look for, but it is, despite the 7,3% ABV, highly drinkable.
February 15 : Meantime London Pale Ale
The glass says Aspall (a Suffolk-based cider and apple juice specialist) but this isn't Aspall. This is Meantime London Pale Ale and I've no idea why they used an Aspall glass. Anyway, let's just get on with it. Well, Meantime is an excellent Pale Ale brewed in London by Meantime Brewing, based in Greenwich. They say it's a bit "citrussy" and hoppy but I don't think it is. It is actually lighter and milder than you'd expect chiefly because, I suspect, the ABV is "only" 4.3%. This is the perfect afternoon beer because even though it isn't the strongest beer in the world, I still believe it doesn't really go with food and on the contrary, it has the qualities of the perfect "standalone" drink. So if it's 5 o'clock and you're in London, I guess it's either this or an afternoon tea.
February 16 : Rebe
Today we're back in Florence with yet another beer from Mostodolce Brewery. It's called "REBE" and it is a blanche, a type of beer that I've never really liked or understood. However, since Mostodolce is my go-to brewery, I have tried of all their beers and I had to try, too. The ABV is 5.2% and in terms of texture, the Rebe is perhaps a bit more aggressive than the average blanche and it's darker, both literally and metaphorically.
February 17 : Classic Pilsner Urquell
We're gonna go classic with today's episode of beer of the day with one of the best conventional lagers you can find pretty much anywhere in the world: Pilsner Urquell. Pilsner Lager (4.4% ABV) is brewed in Plzeň, Czech Republic. It was first introduced in 1842 as a pale lager and quickly became one of the most popular and appreciated lagers in the world. It's the colour of gold and it has an unmistakable clarity to it. Can't go wrong with a Pilsner.
February 18 : Senza Nome Bologna Stout
First of all I need to talk about my friend, we're going to call her Pink Earls because... that's technically her name. Pink Earls lived in Bologna for six months and about a year ago she told me she had to take me to a pub called "Senza Nome" (Italian for No Nome / Nameless). This is a special place because it is run by, and for, the hearing impaired. You can use your smartphone, pre-ready order cards and, of course, sign language to order a drink and it is a beautiful place and a beautiful idea. Honestly? I said in the headline that this is called "No Name Stout" but that's a lie. I don't actually remember what it was called but I really, really wanted you to know about this place so there you go, I had a stout.
February 19 : Malastrana Lucky Drop
In today's episode of Beer of the Day, we take a look at what's probably the weirdest beer I've shared so far. It's called Lucky Drop but it's also known as Zelené Pivo (Czech for "Green Beer") and it's brewed by Malastrana in Prague, Czech Republic (the brewery is named after Malá Strana, a neighbourhood of Prague). Lucky Drop is a relatively strong pale lager (5.8% ABV) with added Chlorophyll green pigments in the recipe, which is what makes it green in colour. Would you drink it? It's pretty good.
February 20 : Hop House 13
Believe it or not this is made by the same brewing company that makes Guinness and I'll be honest, I'd really love to say that Guinness steals the limelight and this deserves more attention but I'm afraid that simply wouldn't be true. It's an Irish lager, 4.1% ABV, and I think it simply doesn't have the consistency and the taste you want from an Irish beer. I guess I'll stick to Guinness stout.
February 21 - Salinae
Cervia is a seaside resort town in Emilia Romagna, on the East Coast of Italy, famous for its natural salt pans (Salina is the Italian word for salt pan/flat). Their cuisine revolves around the use of salt and they use it for everything, including beer. This is a Blonde Ale, with 4.9% ABV and... salt, which gives it an interesting twist in terms of flavour. Would you drink it?
February 22 - Petrognola Metra
Metra (technically not an Italian word) is an IPA brewed by Birrificio La Petrognola, in Tuscany. It's quite a strong IPA, with 6,2% ABV, and it's also very bitter. I wouldn't recommend this if you're new to IPAs and/or strong craft beer in general but I'd definitely recommend this if you're into rich, solid beers with a "what-you-lookin-at" attitude.
February 23 : All Day IPA
I feel like we should start with the name because All Day IPA sounds like a motto, a declaration of intent, a memorandum of understanding. It is a session IPA brewed by Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan and it is a lot stronger than the 4.7 ABV % would suggest. Next to the beer can, you'll find Vino, a plush wild boar from Florence because why not.
February 24 : Unknown Trappist
My best friend is a British former professional bike rider currently based in Tuscany. Having recently retired from professional racing, he's now able to enjoy the thing he loves the most after riding a bike: beer. A coupe of weeks ago, he invited me over to his house near Florence because he said he had "a special beer you have to try". He said he bought it directly from Trappist monks somewhere in Belgium and he said, I'm quoting, "they only allow you to buy a few bottles every once in a while". I've no idea what the name was, or the ABV, I can only tell you this is was stronger, and somehow -purer-, than average beer. "Trappist" means the beer is brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, by Trappist monks, and the rules very strict. There are apparently only fourteen monasteries in the world that produce trappist beer. There are four different types of trappist beers: enkel, dubbel, tripel and quadrupel. The four different names basically refer to how dark and strong the beer is. This was a tripel, which is the second strongest (after quadrupel).
February 25 : Saison dell'Arco
For today's episode of Beer of the Day we're back in my favourite and therefore best brewery in the world, Mostodolce in Florence. This is one of their seasonal beers, a Saison (highly carbonated and fruity type of beer) ale with 5.6% ABV. Saison beers are traditionally lighter, chiefly because they're historically produced in Spring or even Summer, but this is a bit darker, and a lot stronger. Not my favourite beer in the world but it works when all you're looking for is something to quench the thirst.
February 26 : Skøll
Today's episode of Beer of the Day features a short Instagram video I did about a year ago with a "vodka-flavoured" beer I found in a French supermarket. I don't normally like *something-or-other*-flavoured beer but this was rather good. I don't know what the ratio is but it definitely feels like it might be 99% beer and 1% vodka because you've got to really, really concentrate to taste the vodka and because it "only" has 6% ABV. Anyway, Skøll beer is actually made by Tuborg and the first thing you notice is the shiny, stylish can with the Viking helmet silhouette. One last thing, please ignore the music in the video. It wasn't my fault.
February 27 : Oppale 32
I want to talk about Oppale 32, a highly-hopped beer with 5.5% ABV brewed by "32 Via dei Birrai" in Northern Italy. It is a relatively strong beer, the sort of beer you'd happily drink *after* dinner, not with dinner, if you know what I mean. It is hoppy, but not too hoppy, and strong and vivid, but not too vivid. And hey, it looks cool, doesn't it?
February 28 : PERONI + SACHERTORTE IN THE YORKSHIRE DALES
This beer isn't special, it's just a common 4.7% ABV Peroni, what makes it special is A, the fact that I've paired it with an excellent Sachertorte and B, the setting, because this is from a recent trip to the Yorkshire Dales National Park in North Yorkshire, 220 miles north of London. In the backdrop, you can see the ruins of Bolton Abbey, a 12th-century Augustinian monastery also known as Bolton Priory. Enjoy, and I'll see you tomorrow for the finale.
February 29 : GUINNESS IN HELL'S KITCHEN, NYC
If this were a TV show, this would be the season finale. This is the last episode of Beer of the Day, a "format" or "segment" or whatever we want to call it that I created about a month ago, knowing full well I was only going to be able to do it for a month. Anyway, don't worry, because I'm going to do a full recap tomorrow and I'm also thinking about turning this into a "beer of the week" kind of thing so I can carry on with the format. What do you say? Meanwhile, I thought I'd celebrate this "hoppy" month with two pictures I had taken in a pub in Hell's Kitchen, NYC about a year ago. Yup. It was a Guinness. SLAINTE! (Gaelic for "cheers").