‘Hot night at the village’? Hot night on the toilet more like. Read about our Booze-man’s Holiday to a Florence Craft Beer Festival.
The hops are having a bit of a snooze over winter so this is the time of year that we can actually get away for a bit. At the moment, my wife and I are spending a few weeks in Florence – we’ve got a stack of work to do on our laptops so don’t get too jealous! – so as well as becoming experts in pizza eating we’re doing a lot of research on the local craft beer scene.
11% Beer with pizza
While wine might seem the obvious choice in Italy, craft beer has become as much of a thing in Italy as in Britain and certainly holds its own. In fact we’ve seen people order large bottles of strong craft beer in pizzerias – they’re served in an ice bucket so you get the table theatre as well as the ABV and taste. And who can dispute that beer and pizza make the perfect pairing?
One big event of the year here is Birraio Dell’Anno – Brewer of the Year – which is a 3 day craft beer festival held in January and climaxing in the award itself. This year Marco Valeriani of Hammer Beer was crowned king of the brews.
We took this opportunity to sample of load of great and not so great beers. You know, for research purposes. Let’s start with the not-so-great ones which were a bit Marmite. And by Marmite, I don’t mean you either love ’em or hate ’em. I mean they actually tasted of Marmite. And I don’t like Marmite. My wife does but even she didn’t want anything more than a sample of the offending brown porter in question. It was called ‘Hot night at the village’. Hot night on the toilet more like.
Great Craft Beers
So the great stuff! A really good golden Session IPA called Hop Valley from Hilltop Brewery is worth a mention. Nice and citrussy with a good clean taste. Also on the citrus scale was Tangie from Ritual Lab which was flavoured with Sicilian mandarin juice. And at 7% ABV it wasn’t as sweet as you would expect.
As I said, the Italian Craft Beer scene is very similar to the British one with lots of interesting brews flavoured with fruit and spices and cracking Breakfast Stouts. One that we couldn’t get our hands on was an Italian Grape Ale (IGA) made with Pecorino grape must. One for the beer bucket list! If you have some Italian beer recommendations to pass on, make sure you let us know below!