In Abruzzo, there is a microbrewery hidden inside a castle

Mar 1 2024, 15:57
The production facility is in the neighboring village, but for a true Abruzzese aperitif, one must head to the beautiful castle of Roccascalegna

Finally, a breath of fresh air. It's not the wind that sneaks through the castle stairs in Roccascalegna – a spectacle to visit thanks to its position atop the rock – but the administration of the homonymous municipality. Young, determined, open: they have chosen to make the unused spaces of the castle available for local activities, thus giving life to an unusual taproom where you can find drinks from the MicroBirrificio Delphìn.

The microbrewery hidden in the medieval castle

Visiting the fortress, you come across a place to stop for a 100% Abruzzese aperitif: the house specialties are the beers of Giuseppe Villani, who started the production of Delphìn in the village of Altino, six kilometers from Roccascalegna, in June 2013. The passion for the brewing world came many years earlier when he worked in Rome for a company that did installations for Bulgari: a design degree promised everything except a career as a brewmaster, then the 2008 crisis hit, and after losing his job, Giuseppe decided to return to his Abruzzo and start brewing beer with water from the Majella Park.

Abruzzo-made beers

"In Rome, the trend of craft beers was beginning to emerge, and as I traveled, I became passionate and decided to take training courses before returning home." Home for Giuseppe is precisely Roccascalegna, where he had the opportunity to arrive thanks to the Pro Loco, "they involved me in the project, and so at the castle, I made myself known with tastings, aperitifs, but also book presentations, workshops, experiences shared with local tourist boards or Slow Food."

There is also a bookcrossing area, where you can take and donate books at will, but the heart of everything here is beer, "six fixed types and four seasonal ones." The most appreciated? "Probably the Saisons, fermented in barrels with yeast that I have been cultivating for eight years, and then characterized with oranges from the Costa dei Trabocchi and elderflower juice, or with chestnuts from Sante Marie, a village in the province of L'Aquila."

The products on tasting

Everything at the brewery speaks Abruzzese. From the honey used for production, that of Apicoltura Colanzi in Casoli (Chieti), to the products paired for a delicious break after the walk and the many flights of stairs. The cured meats, for example, come from Le Tre Casette, "a nearby company that produces without additives, without gluten, or derivatives of milk, of very high quality," while the flours of ancient grains come from Terra Nobile. The cheeses, on the other hand, are from Caseificio Fratelli Del Mastro in Sant'Eufemia a Maiella, "with which we have also created the Birraggio, a cheese with beer must and milk."

The project now is to move the brewery to the heart of Roccascalegna, "with a venue next door, so as to have a service in the village as well." Not bad, considering the significant tourism that has invested this area – and a bit all of Abruzzo – in recent years: "Finally, the region is growing, and we Abruzzese are starting to be a bit sure of ourselves. We can offer top-level hospitality; we just have to believe in it." The dream? "Create a can delivery service on the beaches of Trabocchi... an electric bike and lots of smiles. We are working on it."

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