No I ‘m not talking about fan names for your favorite Super Bowl players but Sunday’s game does bring at lot of larger than life personalities and more than one bottle of beer to the table and this got me to thinking about some of the beer I’ve had in Italy. Surprised? Don’t be. Italians like beer and up to this point most of it was from Germany. My Milanese cousin Roberto loved German beer as much as he loved a Bonarda from Piedmonte. Just as Sam Adams created a cultural beer revolution in the US, Italian microbrewers are looking to introduce Italian beer drinkers to a new style of beer with as much appeal as a fine Italian wine. Last October I had a chance to see, savor and sample a few at Birrificio Toccalmatto, an Italian microbrewery in Emilia Romagna.
This region of Italy is often referred to as Italy’s Food Valley where the culinary and cultural traditions of food are at the heart of everything they do. So it wasn’t surprising that the artisanal production of beer was done with the same respect for the ingredients you see in the production of their handcrafted pastas and legendary ragu’. On my visit I spent time with Alessio “Allo” Gatti who guided us through Toccalmatto’s menu of beers. We got to go behind closed doors and walk among the production tanks to see and smell the brewing beer. Yes smell – the aromas were incredible. The aroma of hops was intoxicating and I hadn’t even taken a sip of beer yet. With names like Skizoid, Rude Boy, Ambrosia and Fume du Sanglier (made with beech wood smoked malt) you know you’re in for an adventure in taste. My personal favorite is Sibilla, a slightly spicy beer with a fruity aroma due to the strain of yeast used in the making. I’m anxious to try Surfing Hop, a dark red beer with the flavor of balsamico, after all this is Italy!
Birrificio Toccalmatto is part of the Seeing and Savoring Italy Tour Itinerary