Founder of Birra del Borgo Leonardo Di Vincenzo popped into the shop last week, along with Brooks Carretta, who is currently brewing at Birra del Borgo, but will shortly be heading off to oversee the brewing operations at the New York outpost of the Eataly group. It was a bit of a surprise to see them, to say the least. Obviously, they hadn't just got on a train to come and see me - they were in Leeds visiting Vertical Drinks, the UK importer of Birra del Borgo, Le Baladin and Gradisca beers.
I always get a bit overawed meeting brewers whose beers I like. I feel compelled to pump them for technical information about their beers, which is a crappy conversational technique because (a) the information is interesting to me, but perhaps useless outside of the context of my brain, and (b) I'm sure they'd rather talk about something other than work.
In the course of a conversation lubricated by Marble Tawny and BrewDog-Mikkeller Devine Rebel Mortlach Reserve, we chatted about the recent collaborative brew between Leonardo, Teo Musso and Sam Calagione (a shade too much wild thyme, apparently), techniques for making easy drinking session ales (if you're going for something low %abv and delicate, you can think about missing out the first hop addition all together) and late hopping techniques (I asked if they added hops after 'flame out' - 'sure, to the whirlpool. About a ton' was Brooks' laconic reply).
Anyway, Brooks and Leonardo were in the UK to do a brew of Castagnale (4.2%abv) at Everards. It will feature as part of the JD Wetherspoon's winter ale festival (website here), which has an interesting line-up of beers - plenty of trad, and a decent smattering of one-offs. And it will be coming to pub near you (if you live in the UK).