USFSM students' truffle beer a hit with N.Y. company
SARASOTA -- At $200 a bottle, a beer made by University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, students is one of the world's most expensive, but it does sell.
The pricey brew created during a science-of-beer class was the brainchild of senior Dennis Metz, who with fellow students Alexis Brodil and Charlotte Bertha, used white truffles to make a German Kölsch-style beer.
Their so-called "Dark Horse" brew, bottled in pint-sized Champagne bottles, was unveiled Thursday night at USFSM's Selby Auditorium during a beer-food tasting event involving students and local brew masters.
The students said more than $10,000 worth of truffles donated by New York-based Urbani Truffles USA was used in creating the batch at the culmination of the 14-week class. Based on cost, the bottles would go for more than $200 each if sold retail, they said.
Metz, who developed the idea and contacted Urbani, said the beer contained shaved white truffles, though he was mum as to how much and when the pricey Italian mushrooms were introduced during the three- to four-week brewing-fermentation process.
"I can tell you this beer was made in three stages," he said.
The result is a delicate but distinctive truffle flavor.
Urbani, satisfied by the experiment, said it plans to move forward with a commercial product aimed at wealthy New Yorkers.
Sabrina Notarnicola, brand strategist at the specialty import company, flew down for the tasting and said Urbani tried making a truffle-infused beer a year ago but was unsuccessful.
She wasn't disappointed this time and hinted at a possible partnership with Metz. The brew paired with short ribs and polenta took first place during the food-beer pairing tasting event.
"I could also see this in Miami," she said. "It all comes down to marketing. People will definitely buy it."