Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Forst Brewery

We followed the Adige River along its winding path to what I can only call the extreme North of Italy. The beautiful mountains were enshrouded with clouds, leaving a hint of something more, a  magical, heavenly place yet to be revealed. Damn clouds.

They were covering the view eevrywhere!
We made it to Forst and were met by Maximillian who works in communications and gave us a very worthwhile tour around the brewery. He did not hold any details back when explaining the history and the brewery operations. He proudly explained that this is the only large scale family owner brewery sill operating in Italy, whereas the others are all run by larger conglomerates (to paraphrase - don't want to get Maximillion into trouble).

Hi Maximillian!

There were no less than 98 individual drain pipes from the lauter tun into the boil kettle. Wow, that's distribution of your draining! The mill was capable of 30 tonne of grain per hour, with the average grain bill being 10 tonnes and thus, milled in 20 minutes. Crazy numbers. Amazing machinery for the task at hand.
Under the mash tuns, whirpool, boil, etc

They have two mash tuns as the gelatinise the starches from Maize at high temperatures and once completed add both to the mash. This gives them an easy way for decoction mashing and also speeds up their cycle. 

5 Vessels here
One sexy tun!
Mashing takes around 2 hours and as a process with their 5 massive tanks (huge cans!) they produce 8x 64,000 litre batches per day. Maximilian (our guide) was incredibly open and up front about the brewing process, including fermentation. They have 44 lagering tanks for finished product with the average age of lagering being 6 weeks for full strength beer and 4 weeks for their mid strength.

This is how the pros add hops
 Mmmm stainless pipes!!

Forst was very picturesque. They even had a small church tower in the middle of the brewery which gave it even more of that 'village' feel.

This is the door to the brewery

Brewery to left
Forst takes both sides of the road!
the other side of the road - we now know the answer to the Chicken question!

Old brewery - how quaint!

 I must say, even the toilets were nice!

It seems patriotism for Süd Tirol is a point of pride here. Impressively large, half red, half white vertically striped flags, some exceeding 5 metres in length, are sporadically and numerously planted throughout the vineyards, fields, towns, castles and hills from Bolzano. To me it would seem the secession from the Austro-Hungarian Empire must still be a fresh victory in these lands. In Rome, when we spoke of our imminent journey north we were, without exception, informed that all people north of Genoa clearly identified themselves as Austrian or German, not as Italian -"they don't see themselves as Italian" we were told more than once. This has borne no truth from my time in Trento and it's lake filled and mountainous surrounds, where a sense of pride in their Italian cooking and a relaxed Italian life is a serious form of social and national identity.
I wonder if what is more true is that Süd Tirolese identify themselves with neither Italian or Austrian/German and only as independent Süd Tirolel. The language maybe heavily German but a language should not be considered the beginning and end for cultural independence. We need look no further than the Americans, British and to a lesser extend Australia for how much cultural difference can exist and independence be sought after from nations with the same language.
Anyway, enough uneducated observing and we move on to Forst itself.

1 comment:

  1. You must be having too good a time to update today!