Review: Birra Etrusca

Dogfish Head brewery, in partnership with Birra del Borgo and Baladin, and biomolecular archeologist Patrick McGovern, have produced a reproduction of an ancient ale from the 8th century B.C. This, as far as they can tell, is what people in Italy drank before the arrival of wine.

It may be hard to imagine Italy before wine, which is itself of great antiquity. Indeed wine itself is at least eight thousand years old. However, it did not exist everywhere eight thousand years ago, and it is currently thought to have been spread into the Mediterranean regions of Europe by the Phoenicians. By the time of Homer, of course, wine was already a mental fixture in southern Europe.

The drink is refreshing, fruity in character. It features hazelnut flour as well as wheat (of heirloom varieties, they note, although I doubt any of our heirloom wheats are as old as the beverage they're aiming at here). It draws additional sugars for fermentation from honey and pomegranates, plus other fruits.

If you come across a bottle, and you're interested in exploring ancient things, it's worth a try.


douglas said...

That sounds very interesting. I'll have to find a bottle. Thanks for the heads up.

Tom said...

I'll have to check it out as well. Thanks!