Article by Simonmattia Riva, Biersommelier
When the house sleeps, the barefoot girl, fresh as a plum in the morning frost, arrives in her room (Guido Gozzano)
Plums or “susine”, an alternative name in Italian that spreads in the Middle Ages and evokes the ancient Persian city of Susa, enjoy an ambivalent fame: sweet, juicy and with an almost crunchy texture which makes them extremely enjoyable, they paradoxically pay the price of the renowned beneficial and curative properties which lead them to be often associated to the idea of hospitals and hospices.
This is particularly true for their dried version (just think of the expression “to look like a prune", meaning wrinkly and shriveled). But, again, this is very unfair: even prunes are actually soft and delicious.
Is this undeserved bad reputation the reason why plums, in contrast to cherries and raspberries, have not been traditionally used in beer recipes? It is only in recent years that, thanks to some craft breweries scattered around the world, they have found their way into brew kettles and fermenters.
Maybe. Although, paradoxically, hints of plum due to esters - the aromatic compounds produced by yeast when it transforms the wort into beer - are very frequent in many beer styles, mainly dark in color and of Belgian and British origin, as well as in strong German Doppelbock and Eisbock.
Making plums the main ingredient of a beer brewed only with light malts was a challenge for daring pioneers. And Baladin was happy to take it up, both in the wake of the success of Mama Kriek and to pay further homage to the land of Piedmont, where delicious plums of the Flavour King variety are grown. Reduced to a puree, they make up 18.5% of the volume of Suzi Dry.
Although this beer belongs to the family of Speciali Baladin, produced only in certain periods of the year, the Suzi Dry bottle does not have the shellac seal and has a crown cap: a sign of its young, refreshing and somewhat jaunty character.
Poured in a tulip glass or snifter, the best glass to appreciate its complexity and aromatic evolution, Suzy Dry has a light golden color with a sunny vibe and delicate pinkish hues. It is definitely cloudy, as it is not filtered, and because of the significant amount of fruit it contains. The white and fine foam is crackling and is not very persistent, a typical characteristic of sour beers with added natural fruit.
The bouquet has a citric start characterized by lemon zest and a mineral note. Our suggestion is to leave the golden liquid in the glass for few seconds and come back to it to smell it again and again. The first impression of fresh, almost unripe plum turns into a more defined and round fruit character, with an almost winy note that comes from the plum. If you close your eyes, you could even think you are smelling a young, fizzy red wine.
After a couple of minutes, the essence of the purple fruit comes out in all its pulpy richness: even before taking a sip, the scents tickle the taste buds and give the illusion of biting into a ripe plum. The slightly higher temperature brings out a soft spicy note of coriander with a touch of fresh ginger and a hint of pepper.
When sipped, it has a subtle but well perceivable carbonation. The body is slender but not thin: a certain residual sugar can be clearly felt and balances the lactic, refreshing, yet not biting acidity, accompanied by a full and satisfying plum flavor.
A sip of Suzi Dry truly evokes the bite of a ripe, juicy fruit.
Then, the mid-palate feels a citrus note, with hints of citron and a touch of delicate and refreshing spices that echo the coriander and ginger perceived by the nose. The finish is dry and clean; the ripe plum comes to the fore again, with a clear floral aroma of chamomile which also accompanies the aftertaste, anticipating the enveloping return of the plum flavor, with a hint of pepper.
Suzi Dry is a jaunty but never vulgar young girl, just like the ones portrayed by Italian poet Gozzano.