The warm weather is approaching. For some us, it’s already here. For fewer others, it may blip onto the forecast for an exciting week, and then descend into the chilliness. Nonetheless, the time for sitting out on a patio, lugging a cooler, and cooling off with a few beers is about here. But, are we going to settle for the same old brews we’ve always had. Have we given too easily to routine? We live in exciting times. Make exciting decisions. So many paradigms are shifting in our world, and when such a thing happens we come to find comfort, not in the typical, but in novel places. So, when you grab that beer, instead of reaching for a rugged American, or a hearty German, why not something more “La Dolce Vita”. Something Italian.
Italy is famous for being in Europe’s wine belt and being a formidable force in that belt. They are not famous for their breweries, like Belgium or Germany, but that might become a thing of the past. In the last couple decades, about 600 breweries have sprung across the country and are rapidly becoming a daring group, joyously sprouting innovation in their IPAs, honey beers, and fabulous Pilsners just to shoot examples.
Here are 5 Italian Beers that you should try this patio season:
“Toccalmatto” is an expression loosely translated to “Now it’s up to the fool” and here that fool may just be Bruno Carilli. Though, having started this brewery in 2008 and in a short decade it has become home to many highly-regarded drinks, including Re Hop, he certainly defies the name of this company.
Playing on ample influences from American and Continental styles, Re Hop is a lavish American style pale that takes a vehemence of zesty fruitiness and unleashes it on the unsuspecting drinking. It catches the tongue and goes for the combo with Peach-Grapefruit notes, clinching one’s palate with a bittersweet caramel finish.
Winner of many awards, champion of malt beer enthusiasts, and the darling of its hometown in Udine, Italy, Birra Moretti’s La Rossa is an excellent example of what Italy has to offer. La Rossa is a double malt made with barley and hops, and the deep amber color comes from how the malt is dried and roasting in the brewing process. When it trickles into your mouth, a welcoming abode, the flavor explodes like invading cannons with flavors of dark chocolate, toffee, and molasses, but somehow balanced and much better so than most of the malts on the market. The bitter aftertaste is a sorrowful goodbye, though, as the aroma of missing love haunts the air.
Do be wary, though, because perhaps 2 or 3 drinks into this courageous amber sap of a drink you will start feeling that buzzing in your head. This drink matches well with red meats, fish, and desserts.
The strong for the amber colors is strong and alive in this list as Pesaro’s Honey Beer prodigy, Carata by Costa Est brewery, blasts into the list. Costa Est came onto the scene in 2014 and has already been placed on a map by brewing award winning beers in only a year after its founding. Carata is one such beer.
This is another beer birthed with a malt, but it has so much more. There are the aromas of caramel, toffee, and such, yes, but as well the way the honey plays with it, storming a hoppy palace that radicalizes its flavor with that savory and memorable licorice and cocoa strident notes. The smell is reminiscent of vanilla and sherry and tobacco and even leather, but we promise in the best way possible.
The team of our next beer include a biologist, a metal bass player, a graphic designer, a former chef and a homebrewer. This eclectic team is behind many excellent beers and a brewery that is barely more than a couple years old, but one is truly worth mentioning in their collection: the American Pale Ale “La Granda EssenziAle.”
There is a noticeable, palpable dryness in the body of this ale, as it doesn’t birth from the fruity mixtures of aforementioned drinks. There is a sensation of early summer in this bottle as it wafts into your sensations with citrusy aromas, small grassy notes prickling the nose. This ale is a bitter, nectarous melted gold with suggestions of pine and spiciness. It is very ideal for the warm weather, perhaps even a day in a park or even a hike with its light content.
If we were to listen to awards and accolades, we could deign that perhaps Birra Antoniana was the biggest Italian brewery of 2015. A passion project of Michael and Sandro Vecchione Vecchiata, Birra Antoniana has the goal to make a mark in the cultural history of Italy and to be the beer of its region, Padua. There are two dedicated farms where they cultivate their fruits and hops, in Udine and in Terraglio, so that they can control the means of their ingredients. One of these specially treated beverages is their award-winning Lager- Stile Vienna.
On the webpage, if you can read Italian, you can see how precisely and carefully the metrics and value of this beer are measured. It’s their first love, their baby. From harvest to bottle it is almost smothered, but it is worth it. Easily drinkable. Antique gold with an oxidized copper hue. Smooth, soft, satiating. It is a chilled caramel delicacy.