Thursday, January 27, 2011

Birrificio Montegioco Demon Hunter

Italy has some great craft brewers ... Birrificio Barley, Birrificio del Ducato, Birra Baladin, and Birrificio Grado Plato just to name a few.  But I kept seeing reviews for a beer called "Demon Hunter" that is produced by Birrificio Montegioco. So, when I came across a bottle of Demon Hunter at State Line Liquors in Elkton, Maryland, which has a wide range of craft beers, I decided to buy a bottle.

Montegioco is a small town in the Piedmont region of Italy and, from that little town, Birrificio Montegioco produces a range of beers with names like Runa, Ratweizen, Draca, and Bastarna.  The Demon Hunter or "La Cacciatrice" is based upon a Belgian Style Dark Ale.  Popping the cap on the bottle sounded more like opening a champagne bottle than a bottle of beer.  As I began to pour the beer, I noted that it pours a deep amber with a significant amount of foam. Indeed, the beer seemed to act more like a sparkling wine rather than a dark ale.

The beer also defies the Belgian Style Dark Ale in certain other respects.  For example, the Demon Hunter is lighter than other Dark Ales that I've tried.  In addition, Belgian Style Dark Ales often have aromatic elements and tastes that remind the drinker of raisins, figs, plums and prunes.  The aromatic elements of the Demon Hunter give the drinker a lot of brighter, more summery fruit, like strawberries, raspberries, plums and grapes.   These fruit flavors are also present in the taste of the beer, although they have to compete with the malts and the yeasts, which provide flavors more traditionally associated with beer.   As the beer warms, the complexity of the beer continues to entice the drinker.  Overall, this is a very good beer and, with an ABV of 8.5%, it is one that you should enjoy at a leisurely pace.

I would ordinarily recommend this beer (and, do not get me wrong, I do recommend it), but I feel like I should disclose that the 1 pint, 9.4 fluid ounce bottle costs more than $20.00.  It is also fairly difficult to find, being only available at stores like State Line Liquors in Elkton, Maryland or Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago.


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