11 of the best and most popular Italian beers
Italy, known for its exceptional wines, has also made a name for itself in the world of beer. Over the past few decades, Italian brewing has reached remarkable heights, with several delicious beers gaining popularity not only in Italy, but around the globe. While German and Belgian beers often steal the spotlight, it’s time to explore the best and most popular Italian beers that offer unique flavors and depth.
- Peroni Nastro Azzurro
Peroni Nastro Azzurro is an internationally renowned Italian beer and one of the country’s oldest breweries, with over 175 years of history. This crisp and refreshing beer has a distinctive flavor with a hint of citrus reminiscent of Prosecco. Known for its premium quality, Peroni Nastro Azzurro has a delicate balance of bitterness and subtle citrus notes, making it the perfect choice for any occasion. With an alcohol content of 5.1%, this lager-style beer has a beautiful golden hue.
- Cortigiana Beer
Cortigiana Beer is a creamy and intense Italian beer with rich aromas of vanilla essence and cinnamon. Despite its intensity, this beer remains refreshing and is especially enjoyable on hot summer evenings. Brewed in the Borgorose region of Italy, Cortigiana is considered a beer with a moderate alcohol content of 5%. It is a medium-bodied golden ale with a unique combination of alternative grains such as buckwheat, einkorn and oat flakes. The addition of spices such as ginger, orange peel and coriander gives this exceptional beer a fresh and aromatic profile.
- Birra Moretti
Birra Moretti, a well-known Italian beer, has gained worldwide popularity. Although the brand was briefly owned by Heineken, it is now back in the hands of Birra Castello, an Italian brand. Brewed with passion and the finest ingredients, Birra Moretti is an authentic lager with a special hop blend that creates a well-balanced beer with fruity and hoppy notes. With an alcohol content of 4.6%, Birra Moretti is an excellent accompaniment to a variety of Italian dishes, including pasta and seafood.
- Quarta Runa
Quarta Runa is a beer produced by the Birra Montegioco microbrewery in Piedmont, Italy. Known for its specialty beers, this microbrewery has made a name for itself in international markets. Quarta Runa is 7% abv and is brewed with locally baked peaches, resulting in a distinctive flavor profile. The beer also has hints of spices and baked fruit, making it an ideal choice to pair with desserts, camembert cheese or even a slice of cake.
- Peroni Gran Riserva
Peroni Gran Riserva, a product of the Peroni Brewery, is a beer that exemplifies the brewery’s rich history. Released in 1996 to celebrate Peroni’s 150th anniversary, this coppery and sweet beer offers a light tart note and lingering notes of caramel and toffee. Peroni Gran Riserva comes in three varieties: Gran Riserva Rossa with a copper color, Gran Riserva Puro Malto as a lighter beer, and Gran Riserva Doppio Malto as a darker lager. Each of these variants maintains the traditional long-necked wine-style bottle, adding a touch of elegance to the overall experience.
- Messina Beer
Messina Beer, brewed in Sicily, is widely recognized for its high quality and passion for using the finest ingredients. Birra Messina, the classic recipe, is a refreshing lager with a golden color that captures the essence of Sicily. With an alcohol content of 4.7%, Messina Beer offers a well-balanced bitterness and a dry finish. For a unique twist, Messina created Birra Messina Cristalli Di Sale, an unfiltered lager that incorporates Sicilian salt crystals to enhance the flavor profile. Both Messina beers are worth exploring for a taste of Sicilian tradition.
Menabrea is a well-known Italian beer that has gained a loyal following. Brewed in the city of Biella, Menabrea is a pale lager with a crisp and clean taste. It has a balanced flavor profile with a hint of bitterness and a refreshing finish. Menabrea is available in two varieties: Menabrea 1846 and Menabrea Ambrata. Menabrea 1846 is a classic light lager, while Menabrea Ambrata offers a darker and richer experience. Both are highly regarded and exemplify the Italian beer tradition.
Baladin is a pioneering Italian craft brewery that has played a significant role in shaping the modern beer scene in Italy. Founded in 1986 by Teo Musso, Baladin offers a wide range of innovative and high-quality beers.9. Birra del Borgo
Birra del Borgo is another renowned Italian craft brewery that has gained recognition both domestically and internationally. Located in the Lazio region of Italy, Birra del Borgo focuses on creating unique and experimental beers. Their lineup includes a variety of styles ranging from classic Belgian ales to American-inspired IPAs. Birra del Borgo’s commitment to quality and innovation has made them a favorite among beer enthusiasts.
- La 6 e 40
La 6 e 40 is a beer produced by Toccalmatto, a craft brewery located in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. This beer stands out for its distinctive label design and commitment to using high quality ingredients. La 6 e 40 is a hop-forward beer with a strong citrus aroma and balanced bitterness. It is a refreshing choice for those who enjoy hoppy and aromatic beers.
Birra Baladin Isaac
Birra Baladin Isaac is a Belgian-style witbier brewed by the Baladin Brewery. This beer is characterized by its hazy appearance, light body and citrusy flavors. It incorporates traditional ingredients such as coriander and orange peel, giving it a refreshing and zesty taste. Birra Baladin Isaac is a popular choice for those looking for a lighter and more delicate beer.
In conclusion, the Italian beer scene has evolved significantly in recent years, offering a diverse range of tastes and styles. From classic lagers to innovative craft brews, Italian beers have gained worldwide recognition and appreciation. Whether you’re sipping a Peroni Nastro Azzurro, indulging in the intense flavors of Cortigiana Beer, or exploring the unique creations of Baladin and Birra del Borgo, the best and most popular Italian beers are sure to delight your taste buds and enhance your beer drinking experience. So raise your glass and toast to the excellence of Italian beer craftsmanship!
What makes Italian beers unique compared to other beer styles?
Italian beers often feature unique flavor profiles and innovative brewing techniques. They incorporate local ingredients, including alternative grains and spices, resulting in distinctive and memorable taste experiences.
Are Italian beers only popular in Italy, or do they have an international following?
While Italian beers have a strong presence in Italy, many of the best and most popular Italian beers have gained international recognition and are enjoyed by beer lovers around the world.
Can I pair Italian beers with Italian food?
Absolutely! Italian beers, with their diverse flavors and characteristics, can be excellent companions to Italian dishes. From lagers that complement pasta dishes to hop-forward beers that enhance the flavors of grilled meats, there’s a perfect Italian beer for every culinary pairing.
Are Italian beers only lagers, or are there other styles?
While lagers are prominent in the Italian beer scene, there is a growing presence of other styles as well. Craft breweries in Italy produce a wide range of beers, including ales, Belgian-inspired brews and experimental creations that push the boundaries of traditional beer styles.
Can I find these Italian beers outside of Italy?
Yes, many of the best and most popular Italian beers are exported and available in various countries. Some breweries have expanded their distribution networks, allowing beer lovers around the world to enjoy the flavors of Italian craftsmanship without leaving their own cities.