If you happen to be in the Rome area in mid-February, you’re a very lucky person. When you’re ready to escape the chaos of the city, ditch the beaten path for one of Italian craft beer’s more popular festivals held by Birra Del Borgo. Located just an hour out of Rome, in the small town of Borgorose, in the province of Rieti about 70 km northeast of Rome, you’ll be graciously welcomed by Leonardo Di Vincenzo and his team who host the Oyster Day festival.
The festival Perle ai Porci, or Pearls for Pigs, marks the day the brewery brews their Oyster Stout. The first festival offered a chance to baptize the new brewery which opened in 2012. The rich, deep black stout is made by brewing 45 kilos of fresh oysters with their shells. To give it a more Italian flavor, 20 kilos of Roman Coastline Tellina clams are also added. Sound strange? No so much. The minerals that come from the oyster shells, the slight remnant of oysters and the roasted barley form a creamy, savory taste that I promise you’ll not flinch at again.
The Oyster Day festival is organized along with the Slow Food producers and executed by the fine culinary skills of La Taberna who cook the oysters and clams that are strained out after brewing into an oyster spaghetti and clam bruschetta. The Pig part of the festival is the inclusion of several pork dishes served as well, many of which are cooked by the acclaimed Chef Gabriele Bonci, Rome’s, and perhaps the world’s best pizza maker. His location, Pizzarium is a must when you return to Rome located on Via della Meloria 43.
The event will be held Saturday, February 15th at Del Borgo’s new brewery, a place also worth seeing. The event costs €30, but it’s all inclusive. The festival goes from 10 am to 7 pm and will include beer, cheeses, cured meats and the feast itself, as well as live Irish music. There is a free, but limited to 25 people workshop. This is an opportunity to mingle with Italy’s new beer enthusiasts in a non-touristic fashion as well as see one of Italy’s most important craft breweries. You’ll also likely have a chance to meet the brewer, Leonardo who is a gracious host—there is no better ambassador for the movement. You can catch a glimpse of Leonardo on line by googling Brew Master’s Italy episode (never shown in the US) brewing the Etrusca with Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head Brewery.
To reach the brewery, you’ll have to drive. Take the A24 Rome-Aquila highway and exit Valle Del Salto. For more information and tickets check out Del Borgo’s website www.birradelborgo.it or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.