Beer on Toast Anyone?

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The story goes that Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, once said, “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Sadly, Franklin never said such a thing. But who cares – someone’s invented spreadable beer! Created by the Italians – who else could come up with such culinary brilliance? – it’s called Birra Spalmabile, or ‘beer spread’ in English, and its creators say it’s intense, full-bodied and creamy. Furthermore, it “goes well with appetisers and cheeses, great on crostini… but perfect also enjoyed alone”. It also is said to do well on ice-cream. The spreadable beer is the result of Pietro Napoleone, who owns the Napoleone Cioccolateria, teasing his friend Emanuela Laurenzi, who owns the Alta Quota brewery. “Pietro Napoleone, the owner of the chocolate shop, was making fun of us telling us that it would be possible to eat beer and not only drink it and that it was just a matter of thickening it,” Emanuela Laurenzi, co-founder of the Alta Quota brewery, told CCTV. “So just like chemists, we started to experiment with different types of beers.” However the ‘chemists’ at Alta Quota needed a little help in getting the textures right, so they asked their antagonists at Napoleone for a hand. “We created a cream made of beer by balancing every ingredient we used and also by knowing the reactions are made by mixing these ingredients: so we’ve created a product which is very smooth and creamy, resulting, as the name itself suggests, in a spreadable beer because it can be spread just like a chocolate cream,” said Francesca Napoleone, Commercial Manager of Napoleone Cioccolateria. The result is two different kinds of spreadable, both which are made with 40 per cent beer. There is a light spread, made from the brewery’s Greta blond ale, which is said to have “fruity notes of the first taste of beer”. There is also a dark spread, made from their Omid dark ale, which has “more decisive characteristics of black beer”. Perhaps the best description of Birra Spalmabile comes from the man whose teasing led to its creation, Pietro Napoleone, who told Italy Magazine it’s “like a sweet, beer-scented jelly”. As to an impartial taster’s thoughts on the spread? Zoe Perrett of Foodepediasaid Birra Spalmabile is “more curio than cracking eat”.
I like the texture – the spreadable beer has a strange and most pleasant, slightly sticky, Vaseline-smoothness. I like the smell – the pale version like a happy, hoppy shandy; its dark double more malt and mystique. I like the taste – a true, if too subtle, beer flavour… At least initially, until a pronounced lingering bitterness puckers my palate. I just wanted something more. It’s a clever concept that’s oh-so-almost there. And when it gets there, it’s a concept – and a product – I’ll buy into again.
Both spreads come in 280 gram jars, and while they are relatively affordable at $11 apiece, the shipping is a bitch, at $111 (at least from Napoleone’s store – we have emailed Alta Quota for their prices). You can also purchase the product from UK department store Selfridge’s for £7.99 and £25 shipping (for a total of around $60), although presently they are out of stock.


Joe was Junior Vice-President at Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net until it was bought out by Bill Gates. He now subedits for Conversant Media and considers it a step up. See more from Joe Frost

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