Contessa is an “Italian Pale Ale” evoking “summer in Tuscany under a full moon.” It features herbal, floral and citrus aromas of tangerine and grapefruit. The sugary caramel notes yield to sweet bitter American hops. There is a subtle lilt of chestnut and the finish is attenuated. It is made with water from the aqueduct of the Fiora, which springs from volcanic origins and passes through porous rock.
The lovely Contessa on the label is The Countess of Prato, a tragic figure in the history of Tuscany and legends of love. Prato (translation: the lawn of the Countess) sits on a large plateau on the slopes of Mount Amiata, for which the brewery is named. Prato is surrounded by majestic beech woods, heirloom chestnut groves, and fragrant pine forests.
In the Middle Ages Count Aldobrandeschi fell in love with the Contessa. As with Romeo and Juliet, their romance was star crossed. Forbidden to wed, the two young lovers would secretly meet in her meadow, embraced by the boughs of beech trees, and shielded from prying eyes. But the boughs could not protect them forever, and the countess was forced to marry against her will. The heartbroken count joined the Crusades, roaming lands far and wide in an attempt to forget his beloved. But each night, until his death on the battlefield, he dreamed of her. When the countess learned of her lover’s death, she took refuge in a convent until the end of her days. Although their story ends unhappily, their love was so strong that some claim on warm summer evenings, you can see the ghosts of the two lovers traversing the “Lawn of the Countess.”