Bir & Fud, Rome – Craft Beer in Italy

I popped over to Rome the other day, as you do. This was a work trip, so there wasn’t much time for sightseeing and beer drinking, although I did manage to squeeze in a small amount of each.

One bar that I went to that’s worth a mention is Bir & Fud. This bar is located on one of the narrow streets of Trastevere, the ‘authentic’ quarter of Rome which isn’t particularly frequented by tourists; it’s mainly Romans out having a good time in the numerous bars, cafés and trattorias in the maze of dark cobbled streets where lines of washing hang above.

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Bir & Fud does really great pizzas. But what makes this place so special is that all the beer on draft here is Italian, brewed by artisanal Italian brewers. I’m not talking about Italian lager like Moretti or Peroni – there are lots of different craft brewed beers available on tap here. The bar has a thick copper pipe running the length of it, with taps protruding from it. All taps were numbered, which doesn’t mean a thing to anyone apart from those behind the bar – it’s only when you turn round and spot the beer menu on a perspex slab on the wall next to the pizza menu that you see what delights are available from those unmarked taps.

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The list showed beers from craft breweries such as Birrificio Menaresta, Birra del Borgo, Brewfist, Birrificio Toccalmatto, and Birrificio Indipendente Elav  (Birrificio means brewery by the way). The brewing of artisanal/craft beers is a relatively new thing in Italy, it’s only been picking up since the start of this century (they’ve been concentrating on fine wine too much) so now it’s great to see that it’s becoming more popular – there are now over 360 microbreweries in the country, and new ones are opening on a weekly basis, so I hear. The only thing is, decent Italian beer isn’t cheap. Each beer in Bir & Fud was €5. For a half.

ImageThe place was getting crowded; it was 9.30pm. We took a seat, ordered pizza and some beers. I went for a Toccalmatto Stray Dog, a bitter at 4.6%. It was cold, crispy, and zesty, from the Citra, Styrian Goldings and Challenger hops. It was sharper than anticipated, but nice nevertheless. It went very well with my Margherita pizza anyway. I tried the Italiano Extra Hop, at 4.8%, which was a pilsner style beer, very pale with a big creamy head and quite dry but with a pleasant floral aroma.

I would have liked to have stayed for more, but we moved on, passing the heaving ‘Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà’ (‘But what on earth did you come here to do’ to translate literally) – another bar I would have liked to have gone in but alas, this time it was not to be. I peeped at the beer menu though, which showed several Italian beers as well as brews from the US, Denmark and Germany. We went for a stroll deeper into Trastevere and ended up drinking Nastro Azzurro outside Bar San Calisto, on a little square around the corner from Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere where lots of Romans were smoking and drinking Peroni on the terrace. To put this Italian craft beer-drinking thing into perspective, at this bar 4 bottles of Peroni cost just over €6. For four bottles. Compared to €20 for four halves of craft-brewed beer in Bir & Fud.  But I know what I would have preferred to drink.

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I do think there needs to be some serious price dropping to get more people into drinking craft brewed beers – but these new breweries appear to be very successful as it stands, and in Italy, craft beers are being brewed to appeal to wine drinkers, as an upmarket alternative containing less alcohol. Only time will tell if the prices go down. So in the meantime grit your teeth, smile, pay the price, and enjoy partaking in the beer revolution currently occurring and developing in this country of wine lovers. Cin Cin and Salute to that.

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Published in: on March 30, 2012 at 6:35 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Toccalmatto rocks! I’ll rete thriller itera egemone background home 😉

  2. It’s always great to find fine beers in places you don’t think of a beer places. If I ever find myself in Rome (maybe one day), I’m definitely going to search them out.

  3. Thanks for the review next time I am in town ill have to track down this place!

  4. there are a number of ‘Beer-Shops’ in roma where you can find a great selection of italian/international artisan beers, these places usually attract large crowds who gather outside on the street to drink artisan beers from all over the world. worth checking out


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