The birth of a beer: EMB aLe

Mukkeller Brewery

The 20th anniversary celebration of EMBL Rome will be soon upon us and the preparations have already begun! On the 16th of May, Alex Young and I traveled with our collaborator for this project, Valentino Roccia, to the Italian brewery Mukkeller, located approximately 275 kilometers from Rome in Sant’Elpidio, just south of Ancona.  The next morning we started brewing at 8:00, finishing around 17:00. I designed this beer to be in the style of a Belgian Pale Ale: characterized as an easy-drinking, moderately malty, somewhat fruity, copper-colored Belgian ale. The bitterness should be moderate and complementary to the malt and fruitiness. Using a traditional Belgian yeast adds a bit of spiciness which we blended with some freshly ground coriander. I chose to add some lemon peel to accent the citrusy fruitiness from the citra hops we used. The beer will be around 6.5% alcohol.  In summary, a full flavored and interesting beer, but well balanced – good for a hot Roman summer day!

Continue reading “The birth of a beer: EMB aLe”

EMBL Rome 20th Anniversary – Name that Beer Contest!

EMBL Rome is celebrating its first 20 years on 8 July 2019. As part of the celebration, I am brewing a large batch of beer in collaboration with Valentino at Pork’N’Roll, a Roman brewpub. We will be brewing this beer at the award winning Italian brewery, Mukkeller. The beer will be served at the anniversary party July 8 and hopefully you will be taking some home as well. It’s a Belgian Pale Ale featuring light spiciness and a twist of lemon for freshness on a hot summer day. How can you be part of this? You can help name the beer! The contest is open to current staff or anyone who previously worked at EMBL Rome. To participate send an email with your name, when you worked at EMBL Rome, and your suggested beer name. Keep in mind that the name needs to fit nicely on a bottle label.

—- Entries are due by 17:00 on May 10 —-

The following week all staff and participants will be asked to vote for their favorite entry. What’s in it for the winner? 1) Your name featured on the EMBL Rome 20th Anniversary Beer label (pretty cool!), 2) special prize to be determined (might be way more cool?). Get your entries in now!

Bitter about Brexit?


The author about to do the hard work of taste testing his latest creation – “Still bitter about Brexit”.

As the “official” beer producer for EMBL Rome, I have a demanding job, one that I take nearly as seriously as my real job as Head of Genetic and Viral Engineering. I started producing homemade beer over 25 years ago. I have won many competitions and brewed my recipes in multiple brewpubs to be sold. Along the way, I have become an international beer judge and educator and am always happy to discuss beer with anyone. In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do! Hopefully, in the near future, I will hold some of my beer appreciation courses here at EMBL Rome. Believe it or not, you are all beer judges and I can prove it to you in my course! Continue reading “Bitter about Brexit?”