Sbirro Cheese - Gastro Obscura

Meats & Animal Products

Sbirro Cheese

Italy's first beer cheese gets coated in spent brewing grains and soaked in lager.

Beer cheeses are not new, but Sbirro is Italy’s first. The lager-soaked cow’s milk cheese is from the foothills of the Alps in northwestern Italy. It is the result of a collaboration between the Menabrea brewery and Botalla, a cheese producer, in the town of Biella. The neighboring companies hatched the plan over, of course, beers.

Sbirro begins with a rare type of cow’s milk produced by two local breeds, Pizzetta Rossa and Bruna Alpina. The high-quality milk is limited, as each of these small cows produces only 15 liters per day (compared to a typical 50 liters). When their fresh product is ready, the cheesemakers run it over to Menabrea next door. There, it gets washed in the brewery’s signature lager, which it has been making since 1846. Cheesemakers add further flavor by coating the rounds in spent grains leftover from the brewing process. After aging in the beer for 60 days, the resulting fully-flavored cheese has a milky creaminess and beer-y richness. And, yes, it goes really well with a cold brew.

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