'The market is ready for a new Italian beer brand,' said Poretti brand manager Becky Sagoo to a group of tasters on a grey afternoon in east London deli, Bellavita. And with Peroni and Moretti dominating the market, it seems we are indeed ready for one.
To Italians, Poretti is hardly new, founded over 140 years ago by Angelo Poretti in the northern Italian region of Varese. Here, the quality of water is exceptional, contributing to the smooth quality of the beer, with natural icy caves on hand to cool the fermenting and maturing containers during summer – the perfect natural conditions for brewing.
Now owned by Carlsberg, there are five beers available in the UK. The range includes the light, lager-style 3 Luppoli and 4 Luppoli Originale, through to the richer, amber-coloured 5 Luppoli Bock Chiara, 6 Luppoli Bock Rossa and 9 Luppoli Indian Pale Ale.
The brand's new campaign is Shared Treat, positioning Poretti as a food-pairing beer for family occasions and sharing, embodying Italian drinking and eating culture. 'We are looking to establish ourselves as a real authentic Italian beer brand in the UK,' noted Sagoo. 'There is a clear gap in the market in between high-end Peroni and more accessible Moretti. Poretti is down-to-earth Italian, but also a premium beer.'
Sitting down to plates of Parma ham, Asiago cheese and rich dark chocolate, three of these beers and their food-matching capabilities were put to the test, in a tasting led by beer educator, Jane Peyton BS.
'Beer is the most convivial of drinks, it is the nectar that oils our social life,' began Peyton. 'Sales of mainstream beers are declining and society has changed. We're seeing premiumisation everywhere and Poretti falls into this category – Italy is sexy!'
And with that, first up was 4 Luppoli (5% abv), with aromas of corn, cereal and marzipan leading to a crisp, slightly bitter flavour with notes of lemon, marzipan and a slight sweetness, all with good acidity. This acidity and carbonation cut through the fat of the creamy Asiago, with the cheese bringing out the beer's subtle sweetness and marzipan flavours.
Next up Parma ham paired with 5 Bock Chiara (6.5% abv). Its malty, toasted aromas of biscuits and treacle matched perfectly with the salty ham, bringing out a smoky, almost peated character in the beer. Other notes on the palate included caramel, golden syrup, buttered toast and ripe apples.
To finish, 75% dark chocolate and 6 Bock Rosso (7% abv). Intensely fruity on the nose, the coffee, chocolate and treacle flavours enhanced the richness of the chocolate and detracted from the bitterness, clearing and refreshing the palate.
Getting the food-pairing imagination whirring, Poretti is also set to launch its 10th variant next year, a beer made using champagne yeast.
Carlsberg UK, carlsbergwedelivermore.co.uk/trade