When the ingredients are a gift of nature and the brewer's job is to harvest and blend them to express their passions and vision, just as painters do when they squeeze their paints onto the palette and then transform them into a work of art on the canvas!
THE WIZARD FROM NEW YORK CITY
Garrett Oliver is certainly one of the most iconic characters of the brewing revolution that started life in the USA in the mid-1970s, and that then swept almost the entire world in the space of just three decades. Brooklyn Brewery's Brewmaster since 1994 we met each other along beer paths...
A flamboyant showman, elegant and absolutely distinctive in everything he does, capable of engaging in an intense conversation on the science and history of brewing, but just a moment later exploding into his typically explosive laughter clutching a pint in his hand. Garrett Oliver is certainly one of the most iconic characters of the brewing revolution that started life in the USA in the mid-1970s, and that then swept almost the entire world in the space of just three decades. A former film student, and perhaps not coincidentally with an authentic admiration for director Federico Fellini, Garrett turned his passion for homebrewing into a serious job when in 1989 he became an apprentice at the Manhattan Brewing Company.
His talent and creativity gained important recognition in 1994, when he was appointed brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, of which he also became a partner. The epithet of "brewmaster" has stuck with him ever since, in part due also to The Brewmaster's Table, Garrett's most famous book and a magnificent journey through the world of beers, with its many facets and its incredible associations with any food on the planet, and a book that has made tens of thousands of beer devotees fall even further in love with it, and that has inspired hundreds of young brewers. It's not Garrett's only book, however, because a few years later he edited the equally fundamental Oxford Companion to Beer. These publications were sandwiched together with hundreds of guided tasting sessions, prestigious prizes like the James Beard Award, dozens of designer beers brewed at his Brooklyn Brewery, and even important collaborations with European brewers, the most sparkling example of which is Amarcord Beer's Riserva Speciale.
This exceptional beer is the result of the meeting orchestrated by the Amarcord team between Garrett and poet and screenwriter Tonino Guerra in Pennabilli, the Romagna town where he lived. Our two friends started chatting together, and right from the start they were on the same wavelength. And that was when Garrett decided to create a beer in Tonino's honour, something depicting his romantic inventiveness and intimate bond to his homeland. "And it needs to be a bit sharp, and a bit fruity, just like some of the lines Tonino's written" as Garrett commented. So this is how the Brooklyn brewmaster became so passionately involved in one of Tonino's long-cherished projects. Or to use Tonino's words, the project of the "forgotten fruits" that are part of the heritage of biodiversity of Romagna's Apennines, by now with no commercial value but that he stubbornly insisted on cultivating in his garden. Forgotten fruits for example like sloes or wild sour cherries, which have been blended into the Riserva Speciale recipe to give it surprising and elegant fragrances. And a colour that is the same, as Garrett claims, as the colours Tonino saw in his dreams and used in his works.
BEER IS "LOVE"
Milton Glaser is the designer who in 1976 was commissioned by the New York city authorities to come up with an idea for what turned out to be the city's most successful logo ever, and also the logo that's been most widely copied, on millions of souvenirs, stickers, T-shirts and other items. The logo was "I love NY". Milton Glaser is brand AMA designer...
"Clarity is the ornament of deep thought" someone once said. And this is certainly true of the most famous work created by Milton Glaser, the designer who in 1976 was commissioned by the New York city authorities to come up with an idea for what turned out to be the city's most successful logo ever, and also the logo that's been most widely copied, on millions of souvenirs, stickers, T-shirts and other items. The logo was "I love NY", with the word "love" replaced by a red heart. Simple. Surprisingly simple. But an absolute winner. And also because, behind this disarmingly brief phrase, there was a whole world in waiting the pride of New Yorkers in their city, the hopes of all its immigrants past and present, and the thrills and amazement of visitors from all over the globe, when they flock to visit this gateway to the United States of America.
Born in 1929, Milton Glaser is now one of the world's most internationally celebrated designers, with exhibitions at MoMA and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and he has received countless awards and recognitions for his many works. Often ahead of the times, the New York magazine founded and designed by Glaser was a benchmark for similar publications all over the world, capable of communicating ideas, philosophies and images with its simple but elegant style.
Glaser has worked for a multitude of clients, from public institutions, as in the case of his famous logo, through to research centres, record companies, publishers, corporations and music events, designing elegant posters and other artwork. He has also collaborated with the Brooklyn Brewery, designing its main logo and creating its advertising campaigns. Glaser however also has close links with Italy, which started with his studies in Bologna guided by the renowned painter Giorgio Morandi, and which continued later with his design of one of the tourist posters that the city of Rimini commissions every year from a different artist. Glaser's turn came in 1995, and so it was that his long association with the capital of the Romagna Riviera began. Initially it was a close association, and then a long-distance one, which was brought back to life when the Amarcord team, accompanied by quintessential New Yorker Garrett Oliver, went to meet Glaser in Manhattan. "At the time, Garrett was working with us on an idea for a range of beers created for the catering trade, he was obsessed by it. Glaser instead was delighted to be able to come back to Rimini again, even if only virtually, and came up with a play on words focusing on the word Amarcord and the love he felt for Rimini and its territory. And this is how AMA beers were born."
BEER IS "A VISION"
Tonino Guerra, born in Santarcangelo di Romagna in 1920, the same year in which Federico Fellini was born in nearby Rimini perhaps a sign of destiny, given that together they were the creative spirits behind the film Amarcord was many things in his lifetime. A poet, an artist, a screenwriter, and even a brewmaster...
Tonino Guerra, born in Santarcangelo di Romagna in 1920, the same year in which Federico Fellini was born in nearby Rimini perhaps a sign of destiny, given that together they were the creative spirits behind the film Amarcord was many things in his lifetime. A poet, an artist, a screenwriter, and even an interior designer. And although these multifaceted talents came obviously from Tonino's innate genius, they depended just as much on his burning desire to explore every single form of art, and at the same time to consider almost every human action as potential forms of art.
While Tonino's international fame could perhaps be attributed to the success of the film Amarcord, he also left a vast heritage of other works ranging from literature, theatre, television and cinema through to illustrated books, paintings and drawings. He signed contributions to a restaurant and a hotel, he designed doors, stoves and furniture, and he even found a name for a type of our local "Fossa" cheese. He also designed the bottle and labels for Riserva Speciale, as a special tribute he wanted to dedicate to Amarcord Beer, with a peacock that immediately calls to mind the peacock perched on the fountain of the town square in Amarcord, during the snowstorm scene. The story of this collaboration between the artist and Amarcord beer is well worth telling. The first meeting of the Amarcord team with Tonino was difficult to say the least, because his character was always bluntly sincere, and he had little time for the niceties of false courtesies. He asked us what on earth beer could possibly have to do with him, and told us he had no intention at all of just doing advertising. But in later meetings, we learned something more about his memories of his wartime imprisonment in a German concentration camp, of his confused wanderings after being freed when the war ended, and of the generosity of the German farmers who shared with the escaping refugees what little they had potatoes, bread and beer! "A dark beer it was, sweet, and good" continued Tonino in his narration, his eyes semi-closed. And then suddenly: "But yours is good too!"
So the next time we met, Amarcord played its trump card, its Tabachéra beer. Tonino celebrated his ninetieth birthday with this strong amber ale, fragrant, intense and robustly alcoholic (9% ABV). He drank a whole bottle, liked it, and fell in love with our project for a beer that would tell the tale of his homeland. He started by drawing the iconic peacock for us, choosing to show it with its tail closed, "waiting for the magical moment when the bottle is opened."
Tonino died in 2012, but he lived every day of his life with a passionate intensity, seasoning it with his poetic, rustic and almost childlike vision, concrete and down-to-earth, but at the same time light and dreamily surreal. Since 1989 he lived in Pennabilli, a small town in Montefeltro area, in the province of Rimini but directly bordering on the Marche region, in the "House of the Almond Trees", with its splendid view over the valley beneath it.