Any beer recommendations for Italy?
I know Italy isn't renowned for beer, but are there any "brewpubs" there? Or English/Irish pubs with cask ale selections? Or anywhere with a selection of Belgian bottles? or do I forget it and stick to wine?
I'll specifically be visiting Rome, Siena, Florence, Bologna and maybe Verona or Venice.
We all have our own personal wants and desires but if it were me and I were truly a “beer fan in Italy” my focus foremost would be on better Italian beer products because they’d be less well known to us. Now, if I stumbled over a bar or two that featured familiar English, Irish, German, or American brands (which I assure you, you will) sure I may stop in, but again if my focus was beer I’d use energy and effort to find better Italian beers (and don’t forget to tell us about them!).
I visited Puerto Rico for work several years ago (what a beautiful place). Anyway I was there with some coworkers and one in particular just refused to leave his food comfort zone. Puerto Rico and San Juan in particular are very tourist friendly so you can easily get Heineken, Bud and (his favorite) Corona. Well one evening at dinner I bought him a round of Presidente (light pilsner style from D.R.) just to get him a little “localized”. He wouldn’t touch it favoring round after round of Corona. Now at this restaurant (and probably through out Puerto Rico) the menu featured a lot of golden well seasoned rice (arroz) and meats dressed in tropical inspired sauces. So my friend orders and I remember it going something like this:
Waiter: “And for you sir?”
Coworker: “I want a steak, well done with no sauce.”
Waiter: “Anything else?”
Coworker: “And I want a plain baked potato instead of rice.”
Waiter: “And to drink sir?”
Coworker: “Um, I’ll have another Corona.”
So finally I engage the guy on this topic and ask him why he wouldn’t try some of the more local stuff. He answered:
“Because that’s what I like when I travel”. “I like to be able to go anywhere in the world and to be able to get exactly what I get at home”.
In my exerpence, Italians can be pretty big beer fans. It's not unusual to find a bar, pub, or even a pizza restaurant with a good beer list.
Last Christmas eve, I ate dinner at Baladin. It was a great meal with interesting beers. If you're a beer fan and in that part of Italy, it shouldn't be missed.
I don't know how easy they are to find in Italy, but the Baladin brewery makes very nice beers:
Easier to find might be the doppelbock brewed by Moretti called Birra La Rossa - not as good as the Germans, but worth a try if you can find it.
Lastly, here is a link that you can search through by destination to see if there is anything of interest:
For the love of God, forget it and stick to wine. Seriously, you will find a variety of beers in any major city these days. I was in Paris in December and I did stick my head into an English pub right off the Seine and had the quickest pint in history (girlfriend refused to go into yet another cafe/pub with me for a drink and kept walking). But mostly I stuck to wine.
i dunno - if it were me, i'd be looking for the beer also (i really, really, really don't like wine.)
i was in knightly spirits (orlando's best retail outlet for good beer) and they had three different bottles of wrapped beer from italy - one with peaches, one with blueberries and one with a devil on it -- the names escape me right now, i'll edit if i find it -- but they were $20 per bottle. they also had most if not all of the la baladin ones pictured in the article i'm linking. (scroll down, fairly long article -- love the squat beer glass pictured halfway down!)
edit, these are the ones i couldn't remember:
Birrificio Montegioco, Montegioco, Italy
- Quarta Runa Ale brewed with Peaches
- Demon Hunter Italian Dark Ale
- Draco Italian Dark Ale
if anyone in US wants to try these or some different italian ales, have your retailer check with B United