Tasting Notes: Italian Craft Beers

Eight standout brews.

By Karen Shimizu

Published on September 5, 2009

Italy's bold new craft brews tend to feature unexpected combinations of flavorings—honey, say, with coriander—that make for palate-awakening interplays of sweetness and bitterness, fruit and spice. Our friend Levi Dalton, sommelier at the Manhattan restaurant Convivio, pairs them in much the same way he does the big barolo wines of Italy's Piedmont: with roasted meats and piquant pasta dishes like the scialatielli. Below, eight of our favorites.

Birreria Baladin: Noel **($18.99/750 ml) **Robust and chocolatey, with a complex, peppery bite.

Birreria Baladin: Nora ($18.99/750 ml) A full-bodied beer made with Egyptian kamut grain, ginger, and myrrh.

Birreria Baladin: Super Baladin ($16.99/750 ml) Light and well-balanced, with faint peach aromas and a tangy finish.

Birreria Baladin: Wayan ($17.99/750 ml) Nimble and lovely; redolent of dried apricots. Crisp up front, with a fruity finish.

Birreria Baladin: Xyauyu ($49.99/500 ml) Similar in character to a port, this intense brew tastes of burnt sugar and tamari.

Birrificio Italiano: Cassissona ($16.20/750 ml) Black currant liqueur added during fermentation yields a tart, bright-tasting beer.

Birrificio Troll: Dau ($20.99/750 ml) A brisk beer with pepper and anise. Refreshing notes of pineapple and evergreen.

Birrificio Troll: Geisha ($20.00/375 ml) Matured for 12 months, this smooth, sweet barley wine-style beer has hints of fig and strawberry jam.

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