© photo Birrificio Beltaine
Beltaine is a handcraft chestnut and spelt beer produced in Granaglione, near Bologna in the Appennini, in a micro-brewery where both the fermentation and maturation tanks and the bottling system can be seen. The micro-brewery allows a production of 400 litres of must per cycle, thus permitting an annual brewing of around 60,000 bottles.
The three different kinds of Chestnut Beltaine beer are:
- Double Malt Smoke Chestnut and Juniper Beer
- Special Chestnut Beer
- Chestnut and Wheat Beer
Beltaine beer is produced using only the finest ingredients and is obtained through the process of high fermentation and then re-fermentation in the bottle.
Characterised by an abundant and structured froth, which is generated during the refermentation process and which lasts long in the glass during tasting, the three different types of chestnut Beltaine beer have flavours that range from spicy to fruity to citric. The yeasts, which can be seen in suspension, are proof of the natural re-fermentation which takes place in the bottle and lend the beers a mark of genuineness.
The production of the chestnut beer Beltaine is part of an wider project: rediscovery of the cultural values connected with the growing of chestnut trees and at the re-launching of a source of income that allowed the local population to remain on the high-hillside and mountain territory.
BELTAINE: A CELTIC NAME
The name Beltaine is derived from the important Celtic spring festival, which was celebrated on May 1st to mark the beginning of the springtime and the rebirth of nature. Literally translated from Gaelic, Beltaine means “Bell’s fires”, since the celebration was held in honour of Bell, the god of fire and light.
Fire symbolized earth returning to life and fertility and was the sign of the ever-changing cosmic energy, responsible of the never-ending transformations of things: Beltaine, then celebrated the idea of regeneration.
It was just among the regenerating bonfires, lit using different types of wood to purify the soil and improve its fertility, that the Celts used to lead the cattle to cleanse it from any illness generated during the long winter, spent indoor, and to protect it for the rest of the year. Granaglione was on the limit of the Celtic settlements on the Bolognese Apennines and the typical Celtic drink was beer, whose Gaelic name was Cervogia, from which are derived the Spanish Cerveza and the Portuguese Cerveia.
THE LOVERS’ KNOT
The “Lovers’ knot” is one of the Celtic knots, uninterrupted lines that derive from the ornamental and decorative Celtic tradition.
They generally represented the continuity of life, the never-ending cycle of life and death, day and night; for the Celts, life did not have a beginning and an end (in fact, we don’t find any legend about the creation of the world in Celtic mythology), but went on continually (death was then merely the energy leaving its shape to move elsewhere), and the interlacements represented this very flow of the divine energy along different shapes.
The symbol of the “Lover’s knot” reproduced on the label is made up of a continuous line, which represents fidelity, eternity and unity. The external circle symbolizes the sun, while the drawing inside is made up of four clovers, one for every season, each one representing the three forces of nature: earth, air and water.
Beltaine Chestnut and Wheat White Beer
Organoleptic description: non-filtered, re-fermented in the bottle, slightly veiled lemon-coloured. Lasting white froth, very scented with fruity hints, slightly acidic and citric flavour, not much bitter. Decidedly refreshing beer, perfect to be consumed in summer.
Beltaine Double Malt Smoked Chestnut and Juniper Beer
Organoleptic description: double malt, non-filtered, re-fermented in the bottle, tightly copper-coloured. White froth, spicy scent, pronounced flavour and structure. Beer apt to go with substantial food. Natural deposit at the bottom.
Beltaine Special Chestnut Beer
Organoleptic description: non-filtered, re-fermented in the bottle, amber-coloured. Spicy scent with pepper and citrus hints. During tasting, a flavour of fresh flour is recognizable, along with a slightly bitter taste, strong and structured body. Natural deposit at the bottom.
(Winter-Ale) Handcraft Chestnut Beer
This original strong beer takes inspiration from the Belgian Noëls. The characteristics that distinguish it from the other Beltaine beers are its darker colour, its higher alcoholic level, its strong and spicy taste, so appropriate to warm cold winter nights. Recommended to accompany desserts.
Organoleptic description: re-fermented in bottles, not-filtered, not-pasteurized, brown –tawny beer. Dark, thick and lasting froth. It presents a bouquet of liquorice, smoked chestnuts, nuts, pears and medlars, hull, cocoa and juniper. Structured body with a persistent flavour after tasting it.
Handcraft Spelt Beer LUGH AURUM
Lugh is a spelt beer, typical of the Celts, who used to drink “Lugnassad” during the important harvest festival, to thank the Earth for her gifts. Lugh was the god of the sun and of the fertility of nature, of intelligence and of all human abilities: his lance always ensured victory. All the rites devoted to Lugh were intended to obtain rich harvests, a guarantee of survival during freezing winters. Among all their harvests, the skilled Celt farmers had a preference for the spelt, a cereal which adapted very well to cold climates and heights, from which they were told to produce a beer giving immortality.
Handcraft Spelt Double Malt Beer LUGH CUPRUM
Not-filtered double malt beer, re-fermented in the bottle, not-pasteurized, amber-colored. White, thick and lasting froth. Intense, smooth flavor, with herbaceous and citrus features. Persisting bitter taste, similar to white bread crust, straw and hay. Ideal with rich food, vegetables and mature cheese.
More info on the Beltaine Beer official website.