The beer wine hybrid is a concept attempted by many brewers with varying results. I have had several that were okay and a few that fell short of okay but not many of them have been truly great. The latest winey beer creation to come across my desk is Nebiulin-a from LoverBeer Nebiulin-a. Never heard of it? I don’t blame you, had no idea what it was when I came across it either.
Loverbeer takes a slightly different take on the beer wine hybrid concept with Nebiulin-a. It borrows heavily from the classic Belgian gueuze style by blending three different years of lambic-style ales but with the added twist of fermenting the juice of the nebbiolo grape. This particular batch used vintages from 2011, 2012 and 2013. Other than being brewed in Italy1 it differs from the traditional style by fermenting the juice of the grapes used to make the famed wines of Borolo along with the base beer. I have never had anything like this and I am excited to crack it open.
The bottle opens with a loud pop reminiscent of a bottle of champagne. It pours a beautiful bright copper color with reddish highlights and a slight lily pad of bubbles that dissipates quickly. A quick sniff of the glass and my excitement level immediately jumps. A big lambic like funkiness that smells fantastic along with a noticeable contribution form the wine grapes. In addition to the grapes, I get hints of apple, pear and even a note reminiscent of the strawberry beer I reviewed a few months ago. The surprising level of brety funk in the nose has me even more excited to try the beer.
The much anticipated first sip brings a big wine character. The grapes are much more pronounced on the flavor than the nose with a big fruity character and a touch of sweetness. This quickly gives way to a level of tartness that is spot on, enough to really bring home the lambic style of the beer but not overpoweringly sour. Nebiulin-a comes together with a balanced softness with hints of floral and funky overripe fruit. The wine aspects of the beer come back in a big way in the finish with loads of tannins and a noticeable grape skin lingers on the palate.