Right! I just got back from New York City on Sunday and am in the middle of writing up a wrap-up post on that trip. BUT! I’ve decided to review a beer that I purchased over there at a WONDERFUL place called the Beer Table at Grand Central Station. The store, which accompanies and represents the actual bar they have in Brooklyn, is just…wow. Plenty of beers in all price ranges. I ended up buying three beers – one Oyster Stout from Ireland for $4 and two specialty beers that were…*ahem* more expensive. So this is one of them!

Bran (translated from Welch means Raven)! From Birrificio Montegioco in Italy. The style is an English Porter but, as I found out, a bit unlike any English Porter I’ve had. Interesting note, the bottle was wrapped in a beautifully designed paper and the bottle cap was actually a modified cork. Very interesting. Anyways, on to it.

BIRRA BRAN – Italy – 8.5%ABV

APPEARANCE: Almost Black with slight hints of amber when you put it to light. Almost non-existent head.

AROMA: hint of raisins, cocoa, tobacco, coffee and sliiiiiiiight amount of licorice.

TASTE: Nice vanilla tone off the top. The interesting thing about all the Italian beers I’ve had is that they always have a nice little tartness. It can either be the dominant part or there’s a hint of it, but it’s always there. This is a nice in-between point. A sort of twist in the middle of it that transfers the tastes of the beer from malty and sweet (hints of dried fruits and caramel, actually!) in to the cocoa and coffee notes that finish the taste off at the back of the throat. Not much of an aftertaste. Everything kind of goes away pretty fast.

FINAL VERDICT: So basically, with Porters I’m usually used to Chocolate and Coffee notes being all there is to the beer, but this is…rather nicely balanced. The sweet, fruity notes really make this a refreshing beer on level with a really nice port! Only comment I have is that I wish that there was more of an aftertaste to it, as it kind of goes away quickly.

So that’s it! Stay tuned for my NYC post and, if money is good, I’ll be doing something Ontario Craft Beer Week.

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