When one pictures going to Italy, strands of delicious pasta as well as vegetables that have intense Italian flavors are most likely pictured. One might be envisioning a plate of amazing cured meat, or creamy, delicate cheese. Of course, you can’t forget the glasses full of intensely flavored wines! But most likely one thing that isn’t envisioned is beer. However, lately craft beer has been hitting Italy’s food scene.
Although Italy lacks a long history in brewing fine beers, they make up for it with their creative beer selection. Italian brewers have minimal laws and limitations when it comes to what they are allowed to brew and how they are allowed to brew it. Ted Musso of Birra Baladin is the person to thank for the start of the amazing Italian craft beers. When he started out, he was running a bar. This particular bar served many different beers from all over, Musso’s favorite being Belgian beers. He became inspired to experiment with not only classic styles but also different spices, grains, peppers, honey, nuts, and fruits.
Musso especially had an interest in the spices and he enjoyed adding different local ingredients, such as chestnuts, to his beers. This trend caught on fairly quickly. This is mainly because the addition of these things helped the beers to work great with food. Even today, Italian brewers make sure to keep food in mind when they are designing their beers. Many of the Italian brewers even have their own restaurants. In their restaurants, they tend to serve beers that are paired with specific dishes.
Italy’s winemaking culture also helped influence the local Italian beer producers and breweries. Because Italian brewers have easy access to different wine grapes, they tend to use the barrels that had previously stored wine as it went through the aging process. Because of this access, Italian brewers have the ability and the resources to experiment with wild yeast and things that are able to affect the flavors such as acidity, a type of funk, and also earthiness.
With whiffs of things like a farmer’s market, the beers can taste like they were taken right from the ground. The flavors are crisp as well as clean, tart and fruity, and even sweet and sour. Some of the brews even go to helping a local cause. One particular beer is brewed inside of a prison. This beer and brew is part of a program where inmates are given a chance to ease back into the job market.
In the United States, Italian beers tend to be expensive. This is partly because of the large Italian taxes that are put on beer. Brewers want to makes sure they get the money they deserve, so the fees and taxes are reflected in the beer prices. When the Italian beers are compared to aged Italian wine, though, the prices don’t seem so expensive. And overall, Italian beers are worth that price tag, even if just once.
If you’re interested in having some Italian food with your beer, visit Italian Garden in San Marcos, TX.