11 January 2014

La Birra

The first tasting

Our neighbors and friends regularly bring us things from the bounty of their gardens or their grape harvest. If you read the guides about Basilicata they claim the Lucanian are a poor people but the people of Trivigno are generous with what they have and always wanting to share.

We had been trying to think what can we do to repay this generosity? We don’t have a “campagna” where we can grow fruits and vegetables to share with others. We don’t have the equipment to produce vino, even if we bought grapes as some people do. We do however have an abundance of cantine - cool dark places that are perfect for keeping things at a constant temperature.

The "kit", fermentation stage

We were in a shop in Ascoli Piceno where we saw a beer making kit with just about everything needed to make some homebrew. I figured my ancestry is about 75% German so shouldn’t beer making just come naturally to me?! The shop even offered a video on the process. We bought the kit and some other starter supplies and headed on our way.

Preparing the malt

In October, Oktoberfest seemed like the opportune time, I started to collect empty bottles from one of the local bars and began the homebrew process. The malt and hops come in a syrup form that you add sugar to and stored in our cantina to start the fermentation. I would check daily to make sure nothing looked amiss.

Bottling day

One bottle at a time

After 2 weeks the beer is drained into another container and some more sugar added for carbonation and then bottled. This whole process requires a lot of cleaning and keeping things sterile – everything I’ve read said otherwise your results will be “skunk beer”.

Another 4 weeks in the bottles and my first try was ready for a tasting. We were pleased with the results. This pilsner had a crisp clean taste and an alcohol content just under 5%. I have taken some bottles to friends’ houses for pizza and to a birthday party and everyone has commented positively on the results. Word is getting around town about my beer and several have inquired when they can sample some of my dwindling supply

Our friend Tonino sampling the Pilsner

My second try is a European lager, which is a little stronger than the pilsner but better for fermentation in the cooler winter temperatures. Just a matter of days to sample the results.

1 comment:

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Just found your blog! Love it! Wow, N.M. to Italy! Both beautiful. I love all of my time in Italy, whether touring or with my family in Modena. Will be in Rome, Venice, and Modena again in May. I can't wait to read all of your posts from Italy!

La Bella Vita Cucina