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Lying nearly in the centre of the Mediterranean, the Maltese archipelago is known for its sunny beaches and megalithic temples that predate even Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. With more than 7,000 years of history, the tiny set of islands off the coast of Sicily has seen its fair share of change in culture, food and now beer.

At the forefront of this change stands proudly Samuele D’Imperio, who founded Lord Chambray in 2014 on the island of Gozo after living in Australia, where mass produced beers lay on the wayside to the emerging breweries such as Pirate Life, Feral and Modus Operandi, to name only a few.

In an interview with Prostly, D’Imperio explains that opening a brewery on the island mostly dominated by mass beer production was a challenge, as even beer drinkers, he said, didn’t know the meaning of craft or hops. With limited exposure to the craft brew world, and advertisements dominated by industry regulars, D’Imperio assumed getting through to the islanders would prove more difficult than he had thought.

However, after nearly three years, Lord Chambray has seen its fair of success; their San Blas Amber Ale won an honorable mention at the 2014 Brussels Beer Challenge, their Blue Lagoon Belgian-style Witbier and Fungus Rock Dry Stout both received bronze medals at the International Beer Challenge in 2015, they’ve started exporting Special Bitter to Germany and Italy in 2016 and will soon compete on the international stage at the Great British Beer Festival as the only brewery representing Malta.

Much of Lord Chambray’s success can largely be placed on the shoulders of not only D’Imperio, but also Andrea Bertola, who serves as the head brewer and has more than 15 years of beer brewing experience. Using local ingredients from Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago, Bertola and D’Imperio have been creating a unique lineup never before tasted with ingredients never before used.

Some of these local ingredients include the Gozitan caper flower, which is used in their Flinders Rose Seasonal Gose, and carob honey, used in their Winter Ale. Bertola and D’Imperio brew with local ingredients to provide beers with “flavors all their own,” adding the sweet caper flower to give the beer “a fresh floral aromatic profile and soft salty flavor that culminates into a hedonistic mouthful,” while the carob honey creates different layers of “toffee, caramel notes and a hint of liquorice,” which gives their Winter Ale a local, ruddy profile.

Their unique lineup, which now includes seven different types of beers, also includes hand-selected hops, grains and yeast shipped to them from various locations. Their precision in selection serves as a reminder of their brewing philosophy, which they say means taking “a quality approach” towards brewing beers that they and you want to drink, which has so far served Europe and Malta well, evident by the rave reviews on many beer websites and by the apparent enthusiasm beverage lovers have in regards to the brewery. Their philosophical approach towards creating not only a good brewery, but also a good business, is carried out in every single aspect of production, from the ingredients chosen in the brewing process to the care taken during bottling and shipping. As many brewers might know, crafting a good beer takes more than just brewing. Running a successful brewery means taking the time to carefully clean the equipment, to purchase high quality ingredients and to hire professionals devoted to whatever task is at hand.

Without the knowledge and devotion to carefully oversee even the smallest of details, Lord Chambray wouldn’t be where it is today – an awarding winning brewery with a unique lineup of beers with ingredients never before used.

If you need one more reason to go to Malta, aside from visiting the country’s rich history and sandy beaches, let Lord Chambray serve as your reason. You won’t be disappointed.

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