The name of the brewery where this month’s master brewer works can be misleading: in fact, this isn’t a foreign brewery but a Sicilian one, based in Ragusa, and born out of the passion and determination of two friends, Paolo Trainito and Fabrizio Traina.
Paul Bricius is synonymous with quality.After an initial period during which the beer was produced in a garage, the brewery became a more substantial and professional enterprise. Paul Bricius stands out from the crowd for various reasons: from the production of the barley malt, which is carefully overseen by the master brewer (find out more on the following pages), to the plant-growing phase, to the malting phase, and to the successful collaboration with the Monreale Abbey for the preparation of the Hora Benedicta Abbey Ale.
The brewery benefits from access to various types of barley, which have been carefully selected and grown to be the finest, while adhering to phytosanitary requirements. This was made possible thanks to Fabrizio Traina, Paul Bricius’s master brewer, who was an agronomist before taking on the role of master brewer. The aim of this brewery is to strive to achieve the highest quality final product, starting with the basic ingredients which must be locally sourced in Sicily and of the highest quality. It is no coincidence that the new plant they will be moving to shortly includes an area of land where we will be growing our own hops, which means that all of our ingredients will be home grown.
What’s your name?
Where do you work?
I’m Paul-Bricius & Co.’s master brewer.
When did you begin your career as a master brewer? Do you have a funny anecdote about that period to share with us?
I started experimenting on a small scale in 1995 in my garage at home; I was introduced to the world of brewing by accident. It all happened by chance when I bought my son Luca his first pc; while we were browsing on the internet, we decided to order a home beer-brewing kit. From that moment on I unleashed my creative side; I decided to find out as much as I could about the subject.
I’ll tell you an anecdote: I realised that I would have made more progress if I’d produced beer using the all-grain method, because to start off with I’d been using malt extracts; so far so good. I got my childhood friend Paolo involved. He had an artisan pasta-making business that used a pasta machine with two rollers; this gave us the idea of grinding the malt using this machine. This is how we started grinding and brewing, grinding and brewing, without tasting it. After the normal amount of time it takes for beer to ferment, i.e. at least three months of grinding and brewing, we tasted our first results.
Although I had done my homework, the first beer we produced turned out to be completely undrinkable!
This encouraged me to work out how to do things in my own way, rather than doing things by the book. By doing this I learned to trust my instincts, and I was vindicated.
Fabrizio Traina - Bricius
Which is your favourite beer to brew? Why?
To tell you the truth I don’t really have a preference. I’m always excited about the last beer I’ve created.
You go into a beer shop and you can only buy three different types of beer, not from your brewery. Which would you choose and why?
Duvel, because it’s a well-balanced beer despite its high alcohol content;
Westmalle Double, one of the first dark ales that I ever enjoyed drinking;
Westvletern because it’s extremely rare. I tried it once when I was in Belgium.
Which beer have you not had a chance to try yet but you’ve been hunting down for a while now?
Thomas Hardy’s Ale (original method) and Girardin Lambic.
When not in the brew house, what do you like to do? Yes, this is another way of asking about your hobbies.
I would say I’m really passionate about good food. I love preparing a nice dish every day. When I’m not making beer I enjoy cooking unusual dishes. I like listening to rock music and love just chilling.
Which other master brewer would you like to collaborate with? Can you give us details as to why?
I’d like to work with Jean-Pierre Van Roy because he’s a purist. He continues to use the authentic artisanal brewing method.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the profession?
This profession, like every other, is extremely complicated. I’m happy to welcome people who are interested in the brewing business to my brewery, especially during the production phase. I think you need to have a passion for it. If you want to go into this business you need to be very determined, you have to strive to achieve better and better results. With passion comes sacrifice and sacrifice brings results. This sounds like a play on words but it’s one of life’s rules.
Is beer brewing only about following a technique, or is there room for a little improvisation?
In order to make beer you need both creativity and inspiration. You need to come up with a vision which you then have to follow through systematically – at least this is what I do.
Out of all the beers you have tried, which would you choose for these occasions:
Christmas with the family: The Dolle Stille nacht;
My birthday: Gueze Drie Fontain;
A day by the pool: Cantillon Framboise.
Is there an expression about beer that you hear said by many people and that you can’t stand? Why?
“Personally, I think lager is the best beer,” which means they haven’t got a clue….
What is beer’s superpower?
Beer encourages people to socialise because it brings people together; if you buy someone a beer, someone will buy you one in return.
Say a typical greeting for our readers
Remember that if you drink beer you’ll live for a hundred years, but if you drink anything else you’ll die before the year’s out!
About the Author
In CFT S.p.A. I am responsible for the Web and Social Networks part. I have always been very curious about information and with the advent of the Internet I found the perfect niche to suit my professional aspirations. I have always loved writing, reading, embellishing and investigating any topic that took my interest. This is my LinkedIn profile (I only connect with people who write personalised requests): https://it.linkedin.com/in/lisaaimi.
“Best in Sicily” è un sogno nel cassetto, un riconoscimento per l’eccellenza enogastronomica, per individuare quanto di meglio produce la Sicilia dell’enogastronomia. Per questo nasce un premio che rappresenta un passo in avanti nel mondo dell’enogastronomia di qualità, per passare dal made in Sicily a qualcosa di più.
Ecco quindi l’idea di “Best in Sicily”, ovvero quel che rappresenta il meglio che la Sicilia può offrire nel campo del gusto e dell’accoglienza. L’idea che anima questo riconoscimento è quello di dare un giusto merito a chi si distingue, ma anche uno stimolo per tutti gli altri che lavorano nel campo dell’enogastronomia.
I premi vengono destinati a quattordici categorie miglior produttore di vino, miglior produttore di olio, miglior produttore di formaggio, miglior bar, migliore pasticceria, migliore pizzeria, migliore ristorante, miglior albergo, miglior fornaio, miglior macellaio, ambasciatore siciliano del gusto, dall'edizione 2013 la migliore azienda conserviera, dall'edizione 2015 la migliore trattoria e quest'anno il migliore birrificio!
Fra i premiati anche un sindaco come massima espressione di territori che sempre più spesso scelgono di scommettere sull’enogastronomia.
The winner is?
Pionieri e capaci nell'aver assemblato acqua, orzo e luppolo aprendo la strada, senza mai smettere, a nuove prospettive per la Sicilia. E deliziando i palati esigenti di schiumose bionde e scure.
Premiati il 30/01/2017 presso il Teatro Massimo di Palermo da Salvatore Russo di Banca Mediolanum.
Il più antico di Sicilia