Harpoon Beer Culture Trip 2014 - Italy
By: Merrill Maloney, Harpoon Helps Published:
Just when you thought it couldn't get any cooler working at Harpoon, 23 Harpooners are currently in Italy for our annual “beer culture” trip. Each year Harpoon takes its utmost respected, hard-working, and flat-out indispensable employees, who happen to be celebrating their 5th anniversary, (and for some their 8, 12, and 17th…) to Europe. This year, the group is looking to learn more about the Italian craft beer culture. Harpoon Helps Manager, Merrill Maloney, tells us what they are up to over there!
We arrived in Rome recently and have had about a day and a half to ourselves to sightsee, during which most groups visited the Colosseum and the Vatican. Rome is easy to get around, most of us took the subway to get to the main sites.
On the afternoon of day two, we took an hour bus ride to visit Birra del Borgo. We had tried a few of their beers the day before in Rome, so it was great to see where it is all made. Brewer Leo gave us a tour and we tried some really interesting beer. The standouts were L'Equilibrista, brewed with a Sangiovese grape in a Champagne style and an ale brewed with tobacco leaves. We got a great history of the craft beer movement in Italy.
Later that evening we split into groups and ate near the Spanish steps. We made our way to a restaurant called Zanzara, where local brewer Luigi gave us a beer pairing and told us more about Italian craft beer. The Italian craft beer movement is basically about 10 years behind the US. In the mid 1990's, craft brewers started popping up and making beers in the style of the Czech Republic and Germany. Now, IPAs are popular, as is barrel aging. Most Italian brewers use only one malt and one hop in their beer.
Tomorrow we're heading off to Tuscany. Stay tuned for more… Salute!