Three Italian Beers


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?


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.