It has been a while since we last published a Beer of the Week. It’s not that we’ve stopped stinking beer, rather that we’ve been too busy reviewing beer for other people. So to help fill the void left by our own neglect we’ve asked another beer blogger to provide us with a guest review. Step forward Katie Wiles, communications manager for CAMRA and author of the excellent blog Wiles About Beer. Here are her thoughts on a tasty Italian porter – take it away, Katie…
“This week I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on how beer amplifies the fine-dining experience – a relatively new concept here in the UK. Beer is so firmly associated with Britain’s pub culture that it is often overlooked in restaurants, with many gravitating to the more well-established wine options instead.
“Yet it seems that we are missing a trick. Beer boasts a huge (and ever-growing) range of flavours and styles and – most excitingly – there are relatively few rules on how to pair them. A stout doesn’t necessarily have to go with chocolate, and a wheat beer doesn’t need to be paired with a salad. In fact, Christina Perozzi, founder of The Beer Chicks, claims her favourite pairing is a double IPA with a carrot cake. Beers can even make a great base for cocktails – in the seminar, Mixologist Jack Wareing recommended combining a double IPA with a stout for a great vermouth base.
“At the event, I had the chance to sample some beers recommended to amplify the fine-dining experience. The one that screamed “luxury” to me was the KeTo Reporter by Birra del Borgo. Well-presented in a stylish 33-cl bottle and served in a wine glass, it is a classic porter with the addition of Kentucky Tuscan tobacco leaves. The tobacco taste brings out a fantastic spicy smokiness that makes you immediately envision yourself seated in a leather chair next to a log fire in a posh cigar room.
“I chose this dark beer as my “beer of the week” because it is complex and interesting – with hints of whisky, chocolate, coffee and nutmeg. As with any other luxury, I wouldn’t recommend indulging in it to excess, but rather savouring it as a treat after a decadent meal. The suggested accompaniment is a Tuscan cigar – but I would probably opt for a nice dark chocolate instead.
“The founder of Birra del Borgo, Leonardo di Vincenzo, explained that the Italian craft beer movement originated in the fine dining scene. He strives to create beers around the entire experience of an evening out – and I must admit, this has been masterfully achieved with the KeTo Reporter.
“Luckily, you don’t have to travel all the way to Italy to try this beer or any other in the Birra del Borgo range. They’re all available on Beerhawk if you want to stock up for your next dinner party.
“Who knows? Perhaps, if you are lucky, the Birra del Borgo will be on the menu on your next meal out, carefully recommended with a dish. I certainly hope so. There is an entire world of food and beer pairings out there that we have only just begun to tap into here in the UK. Not only do pairings present us beer-lovers with a new exciting way of enjoying our favourite brews, but it also gives us an opportunity to introduce even more people to the fantastic art of craft beer through the medium of food. Until then – cin cin!”
Brewery: Birra del Borgo, Borgorose, Lazio, Italy
Beer name: KeTo Reporter
Available from Beer Hawk