The beer that springs from the mountains

Author: Alberta Voltolini

For our summer issue of CampiglIO, Teo Musso, a founding father of Italy’s craft beer movement, said, “The only true regional trait of beer comes from the water. It’s a factor in fermentation and unifies the other ingredients. It’s like growing grapes on one side of a hill or the other.”

A beer with personalityIn a beer with personality, water is the ingredient that conveys the spirit of the territory from which it comes. For this winter issue of our magazine, this fact has been confirmed by Claudio and Paolo Collini, brothers and founders of the craft brewery Birrificio Val Rendena in 2012 in Giustino, then moved to Pinzolo in 2015, who said,

“It’s the water that gives a beer its character and originality. And in this, our territory is very fortunate. The water comes from the Adamello glaciers, flows over hard tonalite rock, and is a very soft water, light in minerals. This lightness is what gives our beers their fresh, delicate character.”

the brewmasters from PinzoloWe met with the Collini brothers, sons of Rendena farmers, one fall day during a period in which their brewery had finished producing their summer beers and was still in the planning stages for their winter brews. From making the recipe and choosing the ingredients to production and the finished product and on to promotion and distribution, each and every phase is followed with passion and care. Bound by a special harmony that is immediately palpable, perhaps because they are twins, the two brothers are the brains and muscle behind Birrificio Val Rendena.

from passion to inspirationFor these brewmasters from Pinzolo, now at the age of 29, having started their craft- beer adventure at the young age of 24, brewing craft beer is a family matter. “Yes, because our grandparents, Giuseppe and Aldina, who were from Giustino, brewed beer at home for family use. We were always intrigued by this passion of theirs, so much so that it eventually became a true inspiration, and so we decided to do it for real.”

The "Bira da l’ors"Claudio and Paolo brought back their grandparents’ “secret” recipe to create their Bira da l’ors, the fullest expression of the territory of any of Birrificio Val Rendena’s brews, both in name and in flavor. “It is the beer that has the most character and complexity,” they say.

“2017 Beer of the Year” It has a vibrant, tawny color with coppery notes and forms a finely compact, beige head when poured. It has an intense, fruity aroma with hints of toasted bread, but a more sophisticated nose will also detect subtly intriguing notes of spice and hops, and its pleasantly bitter flavor features hints of licorice. But it was with their Brenta Bräu Special Winter Zeit, a winter brew that they only produce from October to February, that they were awarded the honor of “2017 Beer of the Year” by Unionbirrai in the category of German- inspired amber and dark beers. “We like to call it ‘bock’, and it’s perfect for a day of sports on the snow,” the brothers add.

the ingredientsThe utmost care is taken with their ingredients: local water, of course, and then malt, hops and yeast of the high quality needed for a craft beer. Their production systems come from Germany and are among the most technologically advanced available, and 90% of distribution remains concentrated in the Trentino region.

Val Rendena’s beersVal Rendena’s beers are also inspiring other local businesses, such as the Brenta Bräu Vienna, an amber inspired by Austrian lagers, which bartenders at Riva Bar in Riva del Garda use in a cocktail that has since been reviewed in a journal of trendy Italian locales. Then there is the Serca distillery in Bocenago, which has created a spirit they have named the Bevanda Spiritosa da l’ors. Brenta Salumi, in Spiazzo, has chosen the Collini brothers’ craft beer to lend even more flavor to their typical Val Rendena salami, salam da l’ai, as has Antonio Caola to enhance the fragrance of the shop’s excellent Christmas panettone. 

The beer of Val Rendena

Birrificio Val Rendena produces a variety of beers, some seasonal and some produced all year round. There is the Brenta Bräu Helles, a pale beer inspired by Bavarian brewing tradition, and the Brenta Bräu Vienna, an amber, Austrian-style lager. Then there is the wheat, Brenta Bräu Weizen, and their Bira da l’ors, which harkens back to the traditional recipe of their grandparents. There is also a Bavarian-style dark lager, the Brenta Bräu Special, which they produce and package as a limited-edition Christmas brew, and another beer that is entirely gluten free. Other examples include the Winter Zeit, produced from October to February, and the summer edition of the Brenta Bräu Special, a golden brew with a full head, which is produced from May to September.

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