On occasion, you’ll stumble across a beer that will surprise you. Sometimes the beer will be of unexpected quality, but sometimes, the surprise comes out of left field. So it is with Machete Double IPA from Italy’s Birrificio del Ducato brewery. First, this impressive double IPA comes not from England or America, but Italy of all places. Machete was inspired and named for the Danny Trejo movie of the same name. Not only that, but it was inspired by the faux trailer shown during Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse.” Wow.
Looking at Birrificio del Ducato’s website eases some of the concerns raised by the beer’s inspiration. Here, we learn they’ve won multiple awards competing against European craft breweries. One year, they won five gold, silver, and bronze medals across multiple categories. Not bad, considering there were over 1,000 beers competing across 49 different categories. Not bad, at all.
Reading more about this brewery reveals its brewmaster Giovanni Campari has dedicated himself to producing quality rather than quantity. One of Campari’s beers is sold in a bar in Milan to the tune of 10 kegs per week. When they asked for more beer to feed their customers Campari declined. Campari wants to build his expansion in a controlled fashion, allowing him to better control what markets his beer gets sold in.
Machete is hazy and about the color of peach marmalade. Pinpoint carbonation supports a vaguely meringue-like cream colored head. Retention is fairly decent.
There’s an up front juiciness to Machete’s aroma. The juiciness is somewhere between mango and grapefruit, very pleasant and lush in its own way. Center has hints of caramel nuttiness, just enough to give the aroma a bit of a through note. Finish is a little bit hoppy, giving more peppercorn than the expected pine resin of this style of beer.
The mouthfeel and flavor have a definite more-ishness compared to the aroma. As with the nose, the flavor starts with lush flavors of ripe tropical fruits. Malt makes its presence known giving heft to the beer’s flavor. Finish is sharply, bracingly bitter giving the earthy, peppercorn bitterness of European hops. Carbonation gives a bit of spritziness.
This is a pretty decent offering for a nation known more for wine and lager than IPA. It’s straightforward without being simplistic. It’s tasty and refreshing and offers a pleasant, but not overpowering bitterness. Machete is a very solid 8.2 out of 10. This would be a good IPA for anyone who enjoys a big IPA or anyone who enjoys the British rather than American model.