Last Updated : 01/02/10
s I've said before, one thing that Italy does better than almost anywhere else is the beer shop; yes they're expensive (averaging around €9 a bottle, mainly 75cl) but the choice of beer is amazing plus there's always an enthusiasm for the stuff which I've rarely seen elsewhere in the world with the exception of Denmark.
Genoa has veritably blossomed beer-wise since our early 2005 visit with two (maybe three) brewpubs, a micro-brewery, several half-decent bars and a load of beer shops. Some scoopers don't like the Italian beer scene which, in order to scoop a decent amount of beer, necessitates buying bottles to drink in the hotel room (or even take home if you can afford the budget airline's fees) and I appreciate that this method of scooping isn't for everyone - especially those travelling alone - but we don't mind it at all as it allows a thorough evaluation of the beer but, don't get me wrong, if there were more bars selling the beers then I'd be in them instead!
I'll be writing the report at some stage but, for now, here's the beer gen and a few other bits and bobs which you may find useful.
My Google map of Genoa is here. Be aware that Genoa sticks with the archaic numbering system of R (rossa, red) for businesses and N (nero, black) for other buildings and, if this isn't complicated enough, the numbers aren't consecutive so 12/R and 14/R might be a few hundred metres apart! If you've tried to find anywhere in Tokyo you'll do fine...
Exultate / Birrifico Genovese, Piazza Lavagna 15/R. (). Open from 19:00 daily (?)
Smack in the old town just off one of the main alleys, Soziglia. If you follow this in from the harbour (it's called Via Banchi at first) you'll come to a junction with a building in the middle of the street. Take the left fork and you'll see an illuminated sign for Exultate on the building above you. Turn left down the narrow alley of Vico dei Correiri (or Vico Lavagne) and you'll see the bar on the right-hand side of the small Piazza. The brewery itself is claimed to be at number 12/R.
Old-town bar with a brewery apparently a few doors down at 12/R. The beers were average going on decent and the additional Italian micro-brewed beers claimed elsewhere were not present.
Bicu, Magazzini del Cotone, Modulo 4. (). Open Mon-Fri 12:00-14;,30 & 19:00-01:00, Sat-Sun 12:00-02:00.
You can't miss the old cotton warehouses if you venture into the entertainment district jutting out into the old port. The easiest way to reach here is, if you walk down Via di San Lorenzo past the amazing black and white-striped cathedral, when you reach the main road at the bottom cross it (which is a mean feat in itself), go under the flyover, and then sort of carry on towards the shiny-shiny buildings you'll see in front of you. Or, print out my map.
Situated in the old cotton stores in part of Genoa now converted into a "destination venue", this huge barn-like place serves up surprisingly decent food to go with it's very average and safe home-brews. Luckily, the beer can be bought as a taster with 4 small glasses coming in at €4. They also brew seasonal beers with the summer one, a basil wheat beer, being possibly their best brew.
Ambasciata di Recco, Via Marino Boccanegra 5. (). Open Mon-Fri 19:00-00:00 Sat-Sun 11.00-01:00
Situated on the quayside next to the Museum of the Sea not far south of Principe station. It's in an old warehouse just past the glass monstrosity which is the museum although it's not that well signposted so look out for the flags outside. Don't give up as you walk along what seems to be a car park to a storage area, it really is up there!
Bar serving the beers of the Lion brewery which may or may not be brewed on the premises... we didn't see any sign of a brewplant but there's a lot of space in the building so there may well be and, if you believe the internet, there are pictures of it on their website! The Italian beer site, Microbirrifici, says that the brewery relocated from Sestri Levante in 2002 so it looks like it's a scoop!
Pubs and Bars.
La Pausa, Via Assarotti, 12/R. ()
This bar may look a fair way out of the action but it's a mere 5-minute stroll from Ferrari. Walk through the impressive Galleria Mazzini, a covered arcade constructed in 1870 and looking vaguely like Leadenhall market inside, purchasing supplies at the superlative Beer8 as you go. At the far end shimmy left onto Via Roma then cross the huge roundabout which is Piazza Corvetto at the end (there's an underpass part of the way). The bar is on the left-hand side in the first block of buildings after the roundabout.
A good choice of Italian micro beer at this sociable little bar just north of the centre. There are many bottles around the two rooms but to see what's currently available rummage through the fridge and look behind the bar, plus the "aperitivo" served with a beer in the evening is pretty decent too! Well worth the walk out there, and the landlord is sociable too, taking pleasure in watching us enjoy our bottle of Morgana! They also had Panil sour, a rare find in Italy, plus I'd say ten other craft beers all in 75cl bottles.
28 Erbe, Piazza delle Erbe 28/R. ()
On the strangely-shaped Piazza which is the centre of Genoa's youthful nightlife yet only minutes from the main square, Ferrari. It's opposite where Via San Donato joins the Piazza, roughly half-way down on the right.
A bizarre place (it bills itself as a "birreria") full of beer bottles from exotic micro-brewers although they don't really seem to have a list as such! I'm not sure how many beers are available although there are definitely some craft beers in 75cl bottles and it's one of the better bars in town to find Italian micro-brews (we had Civale beer there). They seem to think than Menabrea (brewed by Forst, a large regional) is craft beer for some reason! This place could be really great, actually it may already be, if they replaced a blackboard of "glitter shots" with one of which feckin' beers they had!! Oh, and they can't pour beer, either...
If you're on Piazza delle Erbe you might as well have a look into Il Tri Gaio at the top end of the square to see what they have in the fridge although it was only Bryton (contract-brewed by Balvano near Naples) and a Maltus Faber beer when we passed. On the same square, almost opposite, is Bar Berto which has 6 taps facing out into the street with one dispensing beer from Birrifico Genovese (although there was a sign stating no craft beer was available) plus there's Il Corsaro Nero at Salita del Prione 8/R only a few metres from 28 Erbe heading south which had Maltus Faber and Chouffe beers!
Out in the west, close to Enoteca Squillari, is Il Cantinone at Via La Spezia 1 which apparently sometimes has some good craft beer on sale although we ran out of time to visit; reports please!
Beer8, Galleria Mazzini 5/R. (). I think the shop closes around 20:00.
Situated at the southern end of the impressive Galleria Mazzini shopping centre, just past the Teatro Carlo Felice opera house and metres from Piazza Ferrari. There is another branch close to Brignole station and Via XX Settembre at Via San Vincenzo 131/R.
This tiny beer shop somehow manages to squeeze in 30 or so Italian craft beers plus Belgian, German, British and other beers plus glasses and other accessories. As I've said many times, Italian beer shops lead the world in their enthusiasm for beer and this one is no exception; excellent stuff.
Ciobi, Via Luccoli 5R. ()
Right in the centre of the city's old town and on a main tourist route (not that Genoa has that many tourists, it's just that those that it has are generally here) plus it's very close indeed to the Exultate brewpub (see above).
Touristy shop which just happens to sell some decent beer! There is Maltus Faber in several flavours, paper-wrapped Montegioco, plus a surprisingly good range of Belgian beers which included Westvleteren on our visit. The shop also sells real chocolate and other local wares, see their website for details and beer list.
Ligurian excellence handicraft centre, Palazzo Imperiale, Piazza Campetto 8. ()
In the old town, very close to Ciobi, and easy to find.
The Ligurian craft centre is situated upstairs in a gloriously faded old palace with lots of local stuff for sale including Maltus Faber beers; well worth a look for the building alone which is a masterpiece itself. You need to climb two flights of stairs to reach the shop and ring a bell to get in! Okay, so only Maltus Faber beers are available and you can get them in lots of other places, but it's still well worth a look if not for the beer!
Apparently, Enoteca Squillari out in the west at Via Cantore 266/R is worth a look too, and there are plenty of other wine merchants around town such as Enoteca Bonanni, Via San Vincenzo 60/R, which are worth a look to see what beer is in stock as many wine shops carry craft beer these days.
Maltus Faber, Via Fegina 3. ()
Situated a fair way north of the city and, with their beers available fairly widely in town, not worth the effort to get to. Well, we couldn't be arsed anyhow...
The brewery was only set up in 2007 but already they seem to have become engrained into the local beer drinking culture with the beers on sale in most places "birra artigianale" is on sale and, more importantly, the beer is solidly made and tasty. It's not the most exciting beer you'll have but it fulfills it's role in the world - well-made, flavoursome beer - admirably.
You'll also hear reports of a brewery called Bryton which sells a beer called, imaginatively, Bryton in small 330ml bottles. To their credit they say on the label that they don't brew it and it's made by "Birra Drive" which turns out to be Morena down in Balvano, although they don't admit to making the stuff on their website! As a beer it's not great, mid-brown with a hint of chocolate and a vague oily industrial edge to it, but it's available in the airport shop so you can scoop it in when you return home if you so wish.
We stayed in the new Best Western Porto Antico which is ideally situated to see the old town and is almost equidistant from all the brewpubs! The rooms are comfortable, have aircon coming out of the desk (ideal for chilling room beers!) and there's a decent breakfast including a machine dispensing ristretto from real beans! Get an advanced rate and it's a bargain.
Gazza’s bar and beer of the weekend.
Bar of the weekend.
Although 28 Erbe has the potential to be a better beer bar, their lack of real interest in explaining what was available to us means that the impressive La Pausa gets the gong. North of the centre yet still only five minutes from the action, this bar definitely has a thing for craft beer with bottles from all manner of Italian whoppers carefully arranged around the place. The beers currently on sale are displayed on a shelf behind the bar or you can rummage in the fridge to see what's available and the friendly owner will be happy to pour the beer for you. Not really a scooping bar but there's a decent enough list of beer to make it worthwhile.
Beer of the weekend.
Yet again, as is normal for Italy, we tried a good range of beer of which this time there wasn't the customary couple of gushers and/or infected bottles with all being spot-on.
Busalla Müller - I'm not sure if this is supposed to taste like a proper Czech světlý but, by gum, it does! Loads of worty sweetness, a crunchy malt body, hints of dryness from hops then a grainy, worty finish... if this was supposed to taste like this and wasn't simply an under-attenuated misbrew, then it's a triumph.
Toccaimatto Re-hop - A pale brew with a very obvious high level of hopping from European varieties which manifests itself as a grassy, almost hedgerow taste with a bitter, resinous and slightly sappy finish. Good stuff.
Almond 22 Noa - Many Barley Wines are way too boozy and unsubtle but this one isn't; an amber ale, it has a mellow sherried flavour with malt, toffee and treacle before an integrated, strong yet restrained malty finish.
AMT - the city's transport network including 2 funiculars, 1 cog railway, numerous lifts and even trolleybuses!
The superb Microbirrifici site is all you need to know about Italian micros.
© Gazza 01/11/09 V1
|Scoops on the "aircon desk" at the Best Western Porto Antico!||Bicu brewpub, Genoa||Gazza in Bicu||Scooping in Bicu!||Exultate sign in the old town|
|Gazza scooping in Exultate||Ambasciata di Recco alleged brewpub!||Gazza by Beer8 shop|