The buzz has been brewing for La Birreria since its February 2010 announcement. Four brewers, two American and two Italian, were selected by B&B Hospitality Group (Mario Batali & Joe Bastianich’s restaurant organization) to develop the rooftop brewpub at their Eataly market, scheduled to open in Fall 2010. After some construction and equipment delays, and minus one originally announced American brewer, it looks like things are finally coming together with the doors now expected to open in April 2011.
The brewpub will feature the “Birreria Brothers” brand of beers, a result of the collaborative talents of Italian brewers Teo Musso of Birrificio Baladin and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo alongside American Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head.
With such prestigious personalities and highly regarded breweries attached to the project, anticipation is high among beer lovers and market visitors. It’s also exceptional timing given the recent increased interest in quality Italian craft beers, as covered in the April 2011 issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
The project speaks to the heart of brewing and what makes the world of beer so uniquely different from the world of wine: collaboration. The art of brewing is truly a passion and a skill, just like making wine, but there’s little else the best brewers across the world enjoy more than geeking out with their fellow sud-soaked brethren and creating something new and interesting together. And when the brewers working together happen to be some of the hottest names in the craft beer world right now, expectations tend to run high.
“It has been a blast collaborating with Teo and Leo on the recipes and having Brooks, the Eataly NYC head brewer, train with us at each of our breweries,” says Calagione.
Di Vincenzo offers some additional insight into the experience: “Our collaboration with Sam from Dogfish Head started like a joke in October of 2008 when he came to Italy for Salone del Gusto. We decided to make a beer together (My Antonia)… and the result was fantastic. From there exploded a multitude of ideas and projects that arrived in the New York brewpub, where also with Teo we decided to collaborate with Eataly in the huge project of a brewpub on the rooftop. And now we are going to fuse our beer culture with the way of cooking of Mario Batali.”
The importance of pairing beer with food is very important to Di Vincenzo and Musso as Italians, and Chef Batali is planning a stellar menu for the brewpub to perfectly complement their unique brews. “It has been really cool trying the beers with Joe and Mario in the context of the rustic foods they will be featuring in their rooftop brewery restaurant,” adds Calagione.
“This partnership, which I’ve been involved with since the beginning of Oscar Farinetti’s [founder and CEO of Eataly in Turin, Italy] Eataly project, has created a truly closed circuit within the world of craft beer, the bond between my friends in the realization of a dream,” states Musso, “…and, why not do it on the roof of one of Manhattan’s buildings."
Location aside, the real key element to this endeavor is the unique fusion of styles, techniques and ingredients from both countries. Calagione asserts that “the Eataly NYC recipes will pull together signature creative elements from both the artisanal American and Italian craft brewing scenes.” Musso adds, "I am very excited about this collaboration, that has now developed into a strong friendship, and to be able to showcase the importance of Italian raw materials in order to give an ‘Italo-American’ identity [to the beers], like our group ‘Birreria Brothers’."
Calagione also notes that “all beers made on the rooftop’s copper clad 3.5 barrel brewhouse will be served unpasteurized and cask conditioned directly from hand-pulled beer engines,” something that he believes is a first for the states.
First up on the line? An American pale ale made with dried thyme from Italy and an English mild made with Italian chestnut powder. There’s also eight draft taps with beers from Italian and American craft breweries, including some of the brewers’ own individual offerings. More information on the participating breweries can be found online at dogfish.com, birradelborgo.it and baladin.it, and details about the market at eatalyny.com.