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or Britons, Italy is edible. Our streets
are full of trattorias o�ering us a
glutton's version of Italy: pizza, pasta,
tiramisu, and plenty of wine. Beer?
Perhaps not. We're aware of its
standing as a lager producer, with
larger brands such as Peroni and Birra Moretti,
and smaller companies such as family-owned
Menabrea making inroads, but little else.
That may be about to change, however.
Chain restaurant Carluccio's started stocking
beers by Birra del Borgo, a cult brewery from
Lazio, alongside the ubiquitous Peroni earlier
this year. It is belated recognition of Italy's
growing passion for malt and hops.
There are now around 600 breweries
in the country, and many have the same
commitment to quality as the makers of
Parmesan and Parma ham. "In Italy, we have
the same approach to beer as we do to food
and wine," says Alessio Leone, beer expert
and former barman at West Brompton's
Finborough Arms, where Birricio Italiano's
award-winning beer Tipopils is a permanent
feature, alongside limited-run imports.
"Italy does not have a tradition of beer, like
Britain or Germany, where session drinking
is so important. I like that, but we do it
di�erently. In Italy, you give thought and
attention to what you're consuming."
This approach means Italian beer is
starting to force its way into London's more
far-sighted restaurants, pubs and bars, while
Italian brewers are making their mark on
London's resurgent brewing scene.
At Cafe Murano beer is not just a ller before
the business of eating. "We deliberately
put the beer on the wine list," explains Zoe
Charlton-Brown, general manager. "People are
starting to view it as something to have with
italian jobOur romantic European
neighbour is making waves
on the London beer scene.
Mamma mia! WORDS WILL HAWKES