Fig, carob and sambuca flower. At Spello’s DieciNove, an ‘ethical’ beer you weren’t expecting
Four young friends are using the ancient fruits of Central Italy to create environmentally-friendly products
by Emanuela De Pinto
Still kids, they preferred the brewery to the soccer field. Today, not yet thirty, they’ve founded the Cooperativa Impulso and the DieciNove Microbrewery. We’re in Spello, a beautiful medieval town near Perugia, with Emanuele Pacilli (23), Luca Faggiano (25), Matteo Coluzzi (24) and Cesare Ferrari (26). They’ve hunted down forgotten wild fruits, those of the oldest Italian farm traditions, to make beer with.
The DieciNove Microbrewery was opened in 2014, and its 70 square meters are divided between a laboratory and a tasting area. An intimate place, both rustic and elegant, made entirely of stone. And as you sip beer and eat plates of salami, through the plexiglass door separating the customers from the brewery you just might see beer-making in action.
They began with two types of beer: Amber Ale with Honey and Figs, and Carob-Spiced Dark Beer. The first is perfect any evening of the week, both with meals and during a late-afternoon break. The carob beer, with a strong flavor and a slightly acidic note, pis erfect for strong contrasts like dark chocolate or cookies. “We get our honey from small local producers” explains Emanuele, 23, president of the cooperative. Emanuele left his job as a restorer at the Vatican in order to be a full-time brewer. “The figs come from all over Italy, and the carob comes from Lazio”.
A few days ago production began on a third beer, an homage to the Infiorata, a typical festival in Spello. It’s called “Etica”, and it’s a white beer flavored with sambuca flower. But there’s much more. The four colleagues of Cooperativa Impulso also plan to promote the “Filiera Etica” project, a ‘fil rouge’ of Italian companies (not only food and drink) which put respect for people and the land before profit. This is why DieciNove has already been collaborating for a long time with the Utopia 2000 social cooperative in Gualdo Cattaneo, involving young people from foster homes in their workshops.
But back to the beer. The malts are flavored before production begins. Their beers are not pasteurized or filtered and are top-cropped. They are left to ferment for 7-9 days and then another 30 days in bottles. Then they prepare the fruit, sterilize the bottles and label them. Everything is done by hand. The maximum production is 1800 liters a month. Where can you find these unique beers? In Spello, together with excellent salami and cheese. But also at restaurants like Giorgione’s “Alla Via di Mezzo”, Marco Gubbiotti’s Cucina and Stefano Marconi’s “Osteria Cuore Piccante”. Chefs who have decided to exalt the strong character of these beers with the perfect match.