Le Baladin Brewery tour and Pub (Piozzo) / by shane eaton

I visited Teo Musso's Baladin brewery and pub recently in Piozzo (Cuneo), not far from Barolo. His love for quality beers began back in Monte Carlo, where he spent his summer vacations during his childhood. Having been used to boring industrial lagers, he was blown away when he tried his first serious beer, a Chimay blue. He then began experimenting with homebrewing in his garage and after perfecting his Isaac and Super beers, he began a journey around italy trying to convince hundreds of the top italian restaurants to carry his brews. A combination of his great charisma and the excellent quality of the beers (completely organic without any pasteurization) leads to the birth of the Baladin brand, which is now a household name in italy and all over the world.

 barley wines produced in the chicken coop

barley wines produced in the chicken coop

Baladin now produces about a dozen different beers and also some peculiar beers which you can sample during the tour of his "wine cellar" in Piozzo. Located in a chicken coop, which was the original location of his beer production operation, this is where Teo ages a beautiful barley wine known as Xyaxyù (no, I have no idea how to pronounce it). He has several versions of this barley wine, but my favorite is Fume which has smokey notes thanks to its aging in scotch barrels with the addition of tobacco leaves. He also experiments with aging barley wine in classic wine barrels, which is Teo's way of giving homage his Langhe hills, one of the most important wine regions in the world. Teo's (free) tour also includes a visit to his brewery a few kilometers away.

If you have the time, I suggest staying the night at Casa Baladin, a luxurious bed and breakfast in Piozzo which houses a fine restaurant which I've had the pleasure of eating at a couple years ago. However on my current tour, I decided to try lunch at their less formal brewpub called Le Baladin. The house specialty is stinco di maiale (pork shank)but my girlfriend and I opted for slightly lighter options: the goulash and cheeseburger. Both were very tasty and matched well with the ales (Open Rolling Stone in our case) on tap at Le Baladin. To complete the experience, we ordered a bottle of Mem, a double malt ale with a bitter and caramel-like flavor with a hint of smokiness. 

 entrance to casa baladin

entrance to casa baladin

 casa baladin living area

casa baladin living area

 teo explaining how to make beer in his brewery

teo explaining how to make beer in his brewery

 le baladin beers on tap

le baladin beers on tap

 cheeseburger

cheeseburger

 goulash

goulash

 double malt heaven

double malt heaven