Yorkshire Coast brewery business raises a glass to Italian collaboration

Italian beer lovers will be sampling a taste of Yorkshire ale thanks to a new partnership between craft breweries in the Yorkshire Wolds and northern Italy.

The managers at Wold Newton based Wold Top Brewery and Birrificio Bionoc Brewery, from Mezzano, a commune at the foot of the Dolomites, have worked together on a collaboration brew which is the first of its kind for the East Yorkshire brewery.

Named ‘That’s Easy’, the easy-drinking pale ale with an ABV of 5.2 per cent is now being distributed to bars and restaurants throughout Italy, including outlets in Milan, Rome and Venice.

Alex Balchin, Wold Top Brewery’s Brewing and Bottling Manager and Alex’s wife, Kate, the business’ Export Manager, welcomed Nicola Simion and his Birrificio Bionoc brewing partner, also called Nicola, to the top of the Wolds site in April where they spent a day brewing the beer together.

Alex said; “Italy now accounts for about 76 per cent of Wold Top Brewery’s exports.  That’s Easy makes an excellent first collaboration beer and it all came about because our Italian importer Cuzziol SPA, recommended we get together to work with their local craft brewery.

“It was a pleasure to work with Nicola and his colleague as it’s clear that they share the same ethos as us in terms of sourcing as many ingredients locally as possible and working sustainably.  I’m really looking forward to the reciprocal visit we have planned for next year and we feel this collaboration will inspire lots of exciting projects between our breweries.”

Nicola said they got inspiration for the beer’s name from Alex himself. “Every time we asked Alex if something was possible when we were brewing the beer, his cheery response was, ‘Yes, that’s easy’, and it just stuck!

“Unfortunately, customs would not permit us to use the hops that we had brought with us, but we were able to create a great beer using our recipe and Wold Top Brewery’s equipment and ingredients,” Nicola added.

“We were made to feel very welcome and it was a very enjoyable experience – we learned a lot from the initiative and the fact that three members of the Mellor and Balchin family have gone out of their way to learn Italian makes us feel very special.”

The new beer has been packaged into 30-litre kegs and exported for the Italian market.

Photo: L-R Nicola Simion, Nicola Coppe and Alex Balchin Brewing That’s Easy at Wold Top Brewery