Italian consul showcases unique craft beer styles

The quality and uniqueness of Italian craft beer was highlighted at a recent event organised by the Cultural Office of the Consulate General of Italy.

The Italian craft beer degustation at Venuto Restaurant in Sydney was hosted by renowned brewer and beer judge, Michael Capaldo, who is of Italian descent.

“I became aware of Italian craft beer in 1996 when a brewery named Birrificio di Lambrate opened up close by where I was living in Milan,” he says.

Brewer and beer judge, Michael Capaldo
Brewer and beer judge, Michael Capaldo

“To this day, they are one of the pioneers and great breweries of Italy. The scene is constantly growing and there are around 1500 breweries in Italy.

“Unfortunately there have been many closures over the past six months due to the pandemic.”

Capaldo says Italian craft beer is an extension of the culture that already existed in Italian food and wine.

“The use of local ingredients, lending techniques from wine fermentation, and more exposure to the Belgian and French styles of beer – as opposed to American craft beers – has helped their brewing identity morph into something truly unique,” he says.

The Italian craft beer degustation at Venuto Restaurant

“You tend to see many of the styles brewed here in Australia, but often with a French or Belgian touch.

“Hazy, unfiltered beers have always been a part of Italian craft beer, way before the ‘haze craze’ took the beer world by storm.”

Capaldo selected five contrasting Italian craft beers to accompany the food on the night, avoiding hop-driven styles that may have deteriorated en route to Aystralia.

“Working with availability and freshness were the two main considerations,” he says.

Italian craft beers selected by Michael Capaldo for the degustation
Italian craft beers selected by Michael Capaldo for the degustation

“There are not many Italian craft beers that make it into Australia, and I wanted to make sure the ones we drank were fresh.

“We started with Menabrea Lager, on old school macro lager that has been trusted by drinkers since 1846, and it didn’t disappoint!

“From there we drank bottle conditioned beers from La Petrognola and Baladin breweries – all of which were fresh and very unique.”

The event was one of many organised by the Cultural Office with the objective of promoting the image of Italy, its language and its culture.

The full list of beers on the night:

  • Menabrea Lager, 4.8% ABV
  • Sasso Rosso Petrognola – Ambrata al Farro, 5.5% ABV
  • Baladin Nazionale – bionda- 5.8% ABV
  • Baladin Super Bitter- 8% ABV
  • Baladin Wayan – sour ale- 5.8% ABV

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Author: James Atkinson

Journalist specialising in the food, drink, travel and hospitality arenas. Australian International Beer Awards 2017 Media Award Winner and Certified Cicerone®.

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