End of Summer 2017. I was working behind the bar of one of London’s best beer spots, Mother Kellys E2. I was probably feasting my eyes on that day’s beer menu the afternoon I met Daniele. We clicked immediately, and he told me about his brewery.
Ten years before, he decided to give home-brewing a go for a bit of fun and a challenge. Pietro & Emanuele (now his business mates) started modestly with brewing beer in a garage with his friends. During the next ﬁve years, they researched and worked hard to develop their ﬁrst beer, and then they started to sell it around Italy.
ORA Brewing is dedicated to marrying the finest ingredients with contemporary beer styles. They brew their beers in Tottenham (North London, UK) and they are members of SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) and London Brewers Alliance. The talented Head Brewer, Julia Huber, contributed to further the brewery at its next level. Most of their beer labels are made by Rebecca Nerini, a top Italian based graphic artist.
Daniele is a friend, and I’m glad he believed in me from that first day at the Mother Kelly’s bar – he later offered me a job which I’m still very grateful these days. It’s a pride to see an Italian inspired brewery continually working to strengthen their presence in the UK independent brewing scene.
Find below some ORA Brewing beers I’ve tried recently.
Giasone (DDH IPA, 6% ABV)
Daniele always said he wanted to wait to have the perfect beer before realising a big hoppy beer in the UK – too many good breweries with access to premium hops can let a brewery hoppy creations ger released without enough acclamation.
Giasone has lightly hazed yellow with a creamy white head. A mix of with a barley, oats & wheat backbone creates a real soft and hazy body. Fermented in New England style with a generous amount of Mosaic and Simcoe, this beer showcased bold, juicy flavours. While malty with a caramel hint, it has big sweet tropical fruit hit, candy pineapple with a soft pink grapefruit backdrop — fragrant perfumy hop aroma. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel, lightly bitter, intense citrus and fruit flavours, perfumy again. Interesting beer.
Bettina (German Helles, 4.9% ABV)
Since brewer Julia joined the ORA Brewing team, I was waiting for some classic German styles. Bettina is brewed strictly according to the tradition, only with German malts (Pilsner Malt, Munich, Caramunich) and hops (Hallertauer Perle for bittering, Hallertauer Comet and Hallertauer Magnum for aroma).
Gorgeous in the glass, with a very light golden colour, accentuated clarity and great white foam. On the nose predominant malt notes and delicate hopping are detectable. Pleasant to the nose, herbaceous notes, firm but exuberant malty base, denotes a retro savoury/citrus note that I like but that I would have avoided by aiming for the drinkability of style. I would have just reduced the body to make it more drinkable, especially given the 4.9%—a light, pleasant and drinkable beer, very interesting and super expansive.
Limoncello (IPA, 6% ABV)
When Daniel told me about Limoncello, I felt like he would create something remarkable. The infamous Incrusée Series started with this beer: that explores sensory connections between brewing and gastronomic traditions.
Pouring a light gold colour with a thin head, light but has a good body, but not too creamy or thick. The beer starts mixing extra pale and caragold to give a lemon-like colour, lots of ﬂaked oats for a rounded body for the ice cream eﬀect. On the nose, a pleasant and characteristic aroma that makes it juicy and absolutely thirst-quenching. On the palate, lemon, lemon peel, litchi along with a subtle, very delicate sourish touch. Moderate bitterness that reminds of cedar and white grapefruit.
Upfront is a classic IPA, with hoppy bitterness with some light tropical notes – but its sour character quickly followed with pithy tart lemon. Pretty dry finish, prolonged aftertaste: this cleansed the pallet, leaving you ready for the next sip… Glorious!
Icarus (Saison, 6% ABV)
Here is a London based brewery with Italian origins, with a German brewer offering a Belgian style beer… a love London! <3
Icarus is a hazy Saison brewed with lemongrass and bay leaf (homegrown in Tottenham). For a contemporary switch, it is generously infused with Chinook, Mandarina Bavaria and Lemondrop. Expect a spicy character with some earthy and subtle fruity and citrus notes. All that peppery-spicy notes you wish from a Saison with a lovely tongue-twisting Lemongrass finish. Plenty of farmhouse funk alongside herbal, peppery flavours and a hint of citrus. Well carbonated and pours a massively fluffy head, which took an age to settle to get that tip of the glass pour! Real enjoyable brew 🙂
You can get Icarus via indiebeer (HERE)
I have interviewed both Daniele and Julia back in May 2020, during the first full lockdown, discussin together “Beer & food research: special ingredients in modern brewing technics“: