The Roaring twentySomethings’ beer expert, Ant, continues his weekly beer reviews with the second edition of The More You Know… about BEER. So now you can go out this weekend and impress your friends and co-workers with your “refined palate” and impressive knowledge of foreign alcohols.
By Heineken Italia s.p.a in Comun Nuovo (Italy)
355 mL (12 fl. oz.)
Birra Moretti is a genuine beer produced using a traditional process that has remained almost unchanged since 1859. To produce Birra Moretti, only the highest quality raw materials are used and a particular mixture of valuable hops, that gives the beer its aroma and unique fragrance, intensifying the slight bitter flavour. It is a low fermented beer that has a golden colour, the tone of which is given by the quality of malt used. The alcoholic content is 4,6% volume that make it suitable to drink at any time of the day. In fact it is a perfect accompaniment to both dinner and lunch or to drink in the evening with friends.
The first time I had Birra Moretti was in Palermo, Sicily when my roomates Jason, Vince, and I had decided that we needed to go on vacation after a summer of working. We all found this beer to be light and refreshing and definitely different from some of the lagers we were use to. The label of Birra Moretti is marked by the famous old Italian man which I think is Moretti or someone related to the original founder Luigi Moretti. Vince and I spent many drunk nights imitating Moretti’s sophisticated expression. Even though I had first had this beer in Italy, it is definitely not a rare beer to acquire in the States. I got this bottle that I’m sampling from Trader Joe’s in UTC area. Trader Joe’s surprisingly sells beer and liquor cheaper than most places (Ralphs, Albertsons, etc.). You can even buy bottles individually or mix-and-match a six pack with no extra breakage fee. Getting back to the beer, Moretti is a Premium American Lager (which is more filling than the standard/lite versions) and its company is now owned by Heineken International.
Wondering why its an “American” lager even though its from Italy? The BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program), a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills, categorized beers that are lagers and mass-produced to fall under American Lagers. At one point in history, when the Pilsner style became famous for its well-balanced, extremely clear, mild and refreshing taste, many countries tried to imitate that style. Unfortunately, United States pioneered in creating a type of pilsner with lighter qualities as well as using cheaper non-malt adjuncts. Soon, the rest of the world followed in creating a mild tasting lager that can appeal to the masses. But enough of the history and back to how the beer tastes.
Sulfury aroma dominates initially but fades into soft floral hop aroma. The low malt aroma is covered by a slight metallic aroma. This lager is pale golden yellow in color with brilliant clarity allowing us to see its high carbonation bubbling up to form the head. The head is white and foamy with a low-moderate retention. Rice adjunct like flavors and light malt character is noticed in the beginning but quickly fades away into a moderately low hop bitterness that balances the adjuncts. There is also some malty sweetness which follows with some graininess. The hop flavor is reminiscent of noble hop varieties as it is floral and spicy, but more floral in the end. The bitterness lingers into the aftertaste which leads me to believe that the water used has higher sulfate content. High sulfate content in water is known to accentuate hop bitterness.
For a strongly carbonated beer, this beer has very slight carbonic “bite” (the fizziness that stings your tongue). This beer also finishes moderately dry as I can still taste some residual sweetness. Overall, I find the hop bittering in this beer to be really unique for an imported lager despite its simplicity. Although the Premium American Lager tends to be very one-dimensional, this beer is quite enjoyable, especially with a plate of marinara spaghetti.
Category 1C: Premium American Lager
Overall Impression: 8/10