This week, the ‘Birreria Brothers’ (Sam Caligione of Dogfish Head, Leo DeVencenzo of Birra del Borgo and Teo Musso of Baladin) hosted their Winter Lunch at their home base on top of Eataly New York. Guests were treated to three courses and several beers from the brewers, along with a meet and greet.
The most off-centered beverage served was the Fl!p cocktail before lunch. The base beer, Fl!p Ale, is a winter warmer brewed with saba grape must, cardamom, and ginger, made in collaboration with Mario Batali. The cocktail is based on a colonial recipe in which egg, sugar, nutmeg and rum are added to the beer, then heated up using an iron loggerhead. The result is boozy and eggnog-like, full of nutmeg and creaminess, but with satisfying floral ale qualities as well.
The three courses each had two or three beer pairings to experiment with. Standouts included del Borgo’s roasty 25 Dodici, imparting steak-like qualities to portobello mushrooms and burrata, Dogfish’s 61 Minute IPA, balancing grilled octopus with its bitterness and vinous qualities, and Baladin’s salty, slightly sour Nora, bringing out the richness of grilled chicken thigh. Dogfish’s hefty World Wide Stout was an unannounced surprise for dessert.
Calagione also shared some thoughts on craft beer’s future in America. “I can see there being less national brands on shelves,” he told us, and he was enthusiastic about the burgeoning Italian craft scene. “Even though there’s a smaller base of only about 400 breweries, they’re basically growing at the same rate as we are in the U.S.,” he added.
Monday was also brew day for a new batch of Fl!p, so in a few weeks the beer and associated cocktail will be ready for everyone to enjoy. It will also be available at the new Birreria at Eataly Chicago, opening December 2nd. The next Birreria Brothers lunch in New York will be in the spring.