Founded in 2003 in the province of Turin, in the town of Chieri, Grado Plato Brewery’s simple mission was to open an independent brewpub that focused equally on producing delicious craft brews and beer-inspired cuisine. Founders Sergio and Gabriele Ormea began with only two beers, soon expanding their line with more brews and adding flip-tops to their bottles when customers began to ask to take their unfinished beers home. As the world grew more aware of Grado Plato by way of international tastings, competitions and awards, so did demand for their beers. In 2008, the Ormeas had to move to their production plant to the Montaldo Torinese municipality near Chieri. This allowed Grado Plato to expand their line of beers and spruce up their original brewpub. Sergio, who creates and brews all of Grado Plato’s recipes himself, leaves everything unfiltered and unpasteurized, relying on the beers' raw ingredients to speak for themselves.
Today’s tasting brings us four creative brews from Grado Plato: Weizentea, a spiced beer brewed with tea; Strada San Felice, a bottom fermented amber ale brewed with chestnuts; Chocarrubica, a cocoa-and-carob-bean-infused dark ale; and Kukumerla, a top fermented English barleywine.
4.5% ABVBrewed with green tea and American hops, this low-ABV beer was designed to be a refreshing thirst quencher. For an unfiltered beer, Weizentea pours relatively clear with a muted marigold appearance and a creamy, dissipating head. Bringing it up to the nose, honey, white grape juice and syrup are detectable. Weak tea emerges on the palate with a hint of wine, white grape juice and a mild sweetness.
8% ABVNamed after a long-gone road where brewmaster Sergio Ormea used to collect chestnuts as a boy, Strada San Felice uses traditionally dried chestnuts to give this amber ale a roasty twist. Pouring a nice amber brown with a disappearing creamy head, the nose really shows off the star ingredient with strong roasted nut aromas. Fresh and milky on the palate, burnt caramel and Nutella leave a delectable mark on the tongue.
7% ABVThis inventive dark ale combines the “poor” sweetness of carob beans with the “rich” sweetness of cocoa beans. A fluffy head tops off a darker than dark pour. Cola nut, carob and a milky sourness brush the nose, but the most interesting part of this brew is what it brings to mind on the palate: chocolate-flavored Chloraseptic sore throat spray and sour chocolate milk. No wonder Grado Plato had difficulty categorizing this brew.
10% ABVThis English barleywine is distinctly permeated by butterscotch, both in the aroma and on the palate. Bringing the root-beer-colored barleywine to the nose gives you a clear whiff of old-fashioned candy, honey and butterscotch. Butterscotch is just as present when sipped, along with the honey and some caramel, but surprisingly not much booziness, making it a great candidate for a beer float.
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