There is a quiet craft beer revolution taking place in Italy. Yes, Italy, the land of wonderful wines such as Chianti Classico, Malvasia, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. I did not know this until right before a recent trip to Florence, Italy. Knowing of my love of craft beer, my wife did a search on Florence brewpubs and to our surprise lots of information came up, including several “brewpubs” and places that sold craft beer. During our Wintertime trip to Florence we visited some of these places. Several establishments stood out to me.
One was a place called the Beer House Club, located near Santa Croce at Corso dei Tintori, 34/r (note that a “r” means red or rosso which indicates the address for a business. Residences are a different color and follow a different numbering scheme). Here’s the website: http://www.beerhouseclub.it/.
The Beer House Club was an ode to craft beer. We stopped by early in the evening, with jetlagged bodies, to have a beer while we waited for restaurants to open back up. Because of the time of day, the place was not busy and we were afraid that it was not open. We asked and the guy at the bar welcomed us in. The beers on tap were written on a chalkboard, and the bartender eagerly gave us a description of each beer in English, since we don’t speak much Italian. There were several locally brewed beers on tap including one from the Florentine MOA Brewery (My Own Ale): http://www.moabirra.it/. They also had a great selection of craft beers from around the world—many of which I had never tried.
I selected to try the 12 MAO while my wife had a Winterlude from the Italian Ducato Brewery (http://www.birrificiodelducato.net/). Both were very good. While we were sipping these brews I had a chance to look around. The decoration for the entire place was beer-related. The ceiling and walls had a collection of six-pack carriers and case boxes from craft breweries around the world. The back wall had shelves with about 100 beers bottles (I think these were the selections that were, or had been, available for purchase). There was even a sign that said “Keep Calm and Have a Beer”, which may have been a nod to the phrase coined by Charlie Papazian in his famous book on brewing homemade beer: Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.
We also chatted with the bartender, who was also the owner and a craft beer fan. Hearing that we were from the US, he told us about the difficulties he had getting beer from the US. Despite this, the Beer House Club served bottled beer from Sierra Nevada Brewing, Flying Dog Brewing, Breckenridge Brewing, and Lagunitas Brewing. None were from Michigan, but a great sample of brewers from the US.
After our second pint, the jetlag was calling. It was time for a quick dinner and long night sleep.