Almanac Beer: Three Italian Beers

 

 

 

Varenna

 

It’s late afternoon in Lake Como.  

 

Claire and I are sitting on our second-floor balcony and in the cool twilight, we help ourselves to dreamy snatches of the water. As the mist settles, snowy mountain peaks fade into the bluish light of Switzerland.   We listen to our scenery, the breeze, and the folks below.  

 

Birra Moretti’s mustachioed mascot makes my beer instantly recognizable. He’s patriarchal, encouraging in that European way, and timeless. He’s urging me to be my best beer-consuming self. Luigi Moretti launched the brewery in 1857.  

 

Our initial Italian meal was a belated lunch at a bistro on Piazza San Giorgio. We both had variations upon lasagna as, wide-eyed, and happy, we gazed at the cobblestones, the church, and the black scooters, lined up like fast, rebellious smears.  

 

Given this postcardy context how was the beer? Moretti’s a fruity lager; energetic and offering of infectious excitements. Mine is in a cooperative tumbler.  

 

Of course, it was great. How could it not be?

 

 

Vernazza

 

Arriving by train in the Cinque Terre we had to yank our luggage up a cliff around sunset. It was nearly three-hundred uneven and ancient steps, clinging to the rock face.

 

We struggled past two (American) couples, securely dining and wining in a café, and these both remarked helpfully on how our physical chore appeared as if it, ‘Sucked.’

 

My philosophical question remains: Is it good to warrant a holiday beer? Are they to be earnt while travelling? Either way, sitting on our lofty terrace I had a Peroni Red. I can’t recall an unwelcome coastal beer and this one certainly wasn’t.

 

We also drank in the view of the rolling Mediterranean where to the north the blinking lights were the Cinque Terre’s first village in Monterosso. We’d explore it in a day or so.

 

The ale is slightly darker than its more famous stablemate, Nastro Azzurro, but is flavoursome and feisty.  The brewery was established in 1846 in Vigevano, just south of Milan. Its aroma and palate are fetching.

 

As we sipped and chatted, we heard the bells ring out from Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church.  

 

 

Glenelg North

 

Back home and it’s the Sunday before work. I’ve a near-fatal case of post-holiday dreads.

 

Dr. Dan prescribes a medicinal excursion to his liquor emporium. A variation on our Mystery Pubs and Mystery Days, I come home with Mystery Drinks. I get beer and on occasion, something tentative and spiritual (alcoholic not holy) for Claire. It’s an opportune distraction.

 

Pirate Life’s Italiana lager catches my mourning eye. It’s brewed down at the Port, the Napoli of Adelaide, or not.

 

At 5.2% take caution after a few so you don’t get lippy with Nonna. If you did, I wouldn’t want to be you.

 

A zesty beer, I found Dean Martin in my glass, and it made me think of zig-zagging home after the opera at La Scala; birdsong by a Lake Como church; scampering along the platform to make our train to Pisa.  

 

 

You can read more from Mickey Randall Here

 

 

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About Mickey Randall

No, instead I get out my Volleys, each with the inescapable hole, just by the little toe. What if someone bought a pair of Volleys and they didn’t develop these holes? The absence of holes would itself make a psychological hole.

Comments

  1. Sometimes I think beer might just be the universal language.

    I don’t mind Peroni “Red” (as I call it). A good summer beer.

  2. Thanks Smokie. Some among the unenlightened use a Big Mac as an international currency guide. I (and I suspect you and a few other readers) use beer for this purpose. A big bottle (about 660ml) was generally about 3 euro which is a most reasonable $4.90.

    On our night in Florence we had a drink in the Joshua Tree bar because it appeared curious. Limited U2 iconography inside and a Sonic Youth concert on the big screen. This was replaced by highly discordant music. It was the most un-Italian experience of our trip.

  3. Rick Kane says

    Don’t you just love a piece that begins, “It’s late afternoon in Lake Como”! I really hope the writer is having an okay time of it. Not! Oh, and now it’s about enjoying the beers, well finally relatable. But what’s with the philosophical whipping thyself for enjoying the beer? MR, you and I both know as ruminative ponderers that beer is not an earned enjoyment (unless it’s a VB and then your reward for investment is a dry as a dead dingo’s whatsit). It is both the journey and the destination. I don’t mind a Pirate Life (and born in another time I would have quite enjoyed the pirate life) but I haven’t tasted the Italiana lager. Thanks for the recommend. I’ll give it a whirl, during a late, and cold as a Foreigner song, afternoon by the Curly Sedge Creek, which is more of a stream. Onya, sounds like the Italian holiday was a blast.

  4. In the 80’s I opined the “Radial Theory of Canberra Dining” (the further you got from the place the better the food was back then). I now think everything tastes better on holidays.
    Will keep Almanackers informed of how the Karlovac’ko and Ozujs’ko (‘ = h) is going down in Croatia in June. I now have the “Radial Theory of West Coast Eagles” (the further I get away from them the better I feel – going to home games feels like the Death March).
    In the last 5 minutes against the Suns most of the fans had long departed; it was getting cold; and the umpires were having their interminable DRS adjudications to decide if we were 81 or 86 points behind. I yelled out “fkn hurry up or there will be more of you out there – than us left up here”. Gallows humour is the last refuge of the Eagles supporter.

  5. Thanks Rick. Pirate Life Italiana is an outdoors, Sunday afternoon but Monday’s a holiday and Exile on Main St has just started type of beer.

    PB- Croatia in June sounds excellent. To get to Italy I flew to Melbourne early, waited six hours then caught the plane to Doha. It took thirty hours! On the second flight I watched a movie then took a squizz at the map. I had been in transit for twelve hours and was just flying over Whyalla. Could’ve driven there in four hours. This was a little dispiriting. Enjoy your travels!

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