Italy is known around the world for producing some of the world’s most loved wines, which is all very well and good, but what of the beers? Yes, beer lovers, Italy also caters for you, too, and will surprise you with the artisanal beers that they have tucked away in the unlikeliest of places. Here is a selection of beers and breweries to whet your appetite.
Beer doesn’t always come attached with the best rep; it’s associated with bar brawls, staggering tourists and, in the past, landed some countries with a bad name (Booze Britain, anyone?). This, sadly, has often overshadowed the fact that beer is just as desirable and appreciated in the same way as those who love the world of wine but, because beer has been stamped with this preconceived idea, it’s hard for it to open the world’s eyes to the joys of artisanal beers. You know the feeling you get when you take the first sip of a cold, crisp beer on a hot day? Now, imagine that same feeling but with your hands on a highly prized, crafted beer.
L’Orzo Bruno - Bientina, Pisa,
First up is L’Orzo Bruno a Birrificio Artigiano located in Bientina, Pisa, who have been operating for some years now. They pride their own beers on been simple in terms of ingredients but complex and unique in taste, stating that no additives or preservatives will be found in their beers. Their house beers, which take centre stage, are the clear Martesana, the amber Valdera, the red Montemagno and the double malt Gorgona, which is a beer that comes highly recommended. The Gorgona is clear, 7percent double malt made from Pilsner grains, which crosses the line of beer and ale. The strength doesn’t come through in the taste and is pleasantly replaced by the honey-like malt and the light fruit accents found within the beer. They say that the Gorgona is much more subtle than the Montemagno.
Birra del Borgo – Borgorose
It was in 2005 that the hobby of homebrewing became real business and the founder of BdB, Leonardo Di Vincenzo, opened up shop in Borgorose, a small town in the Rieti province, and, since then, has been wowing those that pass through and even expanding into a second Brewery, complete with a Quality Control Laboratory. Focusing our attention on the original brewery, affectionately known as the Old Brewery, this is where some of their most famous recipes were created; The ReAle, Duchessa and the DucAle. It is the ReAle that kicked everything off and is classed as an American pale ale, that has an ABV of 6.4% and is great to pair with seasoned goats cheese, spelt soups and even spicy dishes. If you, like me, want to be able to pair things up ASAP, then never fear. BdB has that catered, too, and can recommend what to order with your beer, making sure that you have a satisfactory experience.
32 Via dei birrai – new kids on the block.
Their slogan says it all ‘Nature, man and progress: an eco-sustainable path.’
This artisan brewery proudly states that they represent the ‘perfect equation between taste and design, between research and method, without ever straying into industrial standardisation’… in other words, following rules up to a certain point but having enough balls to do things their own way. And it seems to have worked wonders. 32 Via dei birrai are the proud owners of 8 exquisite beers, all perfectly crafted to suit different moods, foods and brews. One that has been getting us excited in the office (no, not because we have had one too many) is the Nebra, which is recommended as a beer to enjoy at the end of dinner or, if you’re in the mood, just on its own. The versatility of this beer has led it to be used in cooking as well, adding aromas of caramel and a slight and subtle spiciness to the dish. The other beers in the 32 range are much more closely connected to food, offering a selection of beers that are as versatile as your flair for cooking. Don’t believe? Check the link below. For more information about how to get your hands on these beers, click below.
The Isaac beer of Piemonte.
This 5% ABV beauty of a beer hails from north-west Italy, in the Piemonte region and comes in a rather dashing 750ml bottle (perfect for sharing). The taste and appearance of the beer has been likened to a Belgian ‘blanche’ and is rather playful on the nose, offering aromas of chamomile, coriander and fig. The beer has be matched to Asian flavours and grilled fish dishes, complimenting the strength of the taste found in these foods. Isaac is in the good hands of Baladin, containing all its yeast and are made with selected, good and clean ingredients which are grown responsibly.
Birrificio Italiano – the first micro-brewery of Lombardy
Found between Lake Como and Milano, you’ll find a little town with a big personality, the town of Lurago Marinone. Here history was made all born from an idea conceived in 1983, the dream to open up a brewery in north Italy, where people could come together celebrating their love of beer and good food. And that is exactly what we have today. This artisanal brewery wanted its beers to be enjoyed in an environment that had no room for snobbery or prejudice and quickly built a reputation of being a hot spot for social activity and cultural events. The beers? I hear you ask, well as of this moment there are 10 available, the number of darker beers out weighing the clear and each having been given a personality. One of our favourites is the Tipopils, which is know as the ‘Self-Conscious’. Why you ask? Well, you’ll just have to add this to your national beer crawl to find out why.
If all this talk of beer has left you feeling considerably quenched and in need of another distraction, maybe a little look at our food articles might help soak up so of that alcohol. And what better food than the good old burger and the recipes from Gnam Box