|Some of our beers at the Cantina|
Beer, however, has been making a lot of noise in the last decade in Italy. No longer regulated to it's prize post as the beverage of choice of Italians while eating pizza (wine, no, but beer is a pizza must), the craft beer movement in Italy has been growing steadily in the past several years.
When I met Manuel before moving here, I was actually here to study this trend for my MA in Food Studies at NYU. Traveling around the country, I tasted many different Italian craft beers from Udine to Reggio Calabria (it's a tough life sometimes), and interviewed many Italians and tourists about the craft beer scene in Italy. Back to New York in 2010, using the about to open Eataly brewpub as an example, I studied the export influence of Italian craft beer.
|Beer and cheese, my preference over beer and wine|
|A tripel and a basil blonde, both from Genova|
Having worked at a brewpub in New Jersey for more then a decade and in the beer industry for my entire adult life, I learned early on to appreciate craft beer. I love wine, but my heart belongs to another. I also learned that not everyone wants to give it a chance (my Italian grandfather, for example, was a staunch Coors light drinker in spite of my best efforts to sway him) and that when people come in and order "a beer", you have a great opportunity to introduce them to something new.
|On tap at Il Bovaro in Florence|
Though here in Italy, Italians are becoming more and more aware and proud of their craft beer movement, many foreigners aren't as aware that they have another completely Italian drink option when on vacation. As much as people associate wine with Italy, beer is just as great of an example of taking the Italian food philosophy and applying it to something. Take what is local, take what you have, and get brewing - hence roasted chestnuts, basil, sardinian wildflower honey, sicilian orange peel, and so forth. Like the United States 20 years ago, the lack of a brewing tradition like a Bavarian Purity Law or some Belgian monks breathing down your neck, means that Italian brewers can take inspiration and styles from all around the world and play with them in their own way, though they certainly love their Indian and American Pale Ales.