Do Italians Drink Beer?

When the average American thinks “Italy”, they likely imagine picturesque scenes: rolling hills dotted by rustic sheds and lined with neat rows of terraced grapes under a bright Tuscan sun. Wine, as many of might feel, is at the heart of Italian culture. Heck, the Romans were drinking it over 2,000 years ago, and so why shouldn’t we still associate it with the peoples of the Italy today who still enjoy it?

Well, we should–but not at the ignorance of the small yet still robust beer culture. Our own journey to find craft beer in the historic peninsula was certainly an interesting one, but not without success. Friends were surprised when we told them that we were seeking out craft breweries in Italy. Why not look for what they’re much better known for? Why not visit the great wineries? Well, because believe it or not, Italians love beer too.

Again, maybe they don’t consume the latter beverage with quite the fervor as the former (or at least not in the same volume), but rest assured, Italian beer is a very real and important part of the country’s palate.

One of the few craft “breweries” we found in Italy!

Does Italy Have Craft Breweries?

Great question. And as much as we wish that we had a clear answer, the situation just isn’t that simple. Our initial investigation via Google Maps revealed a lot of what seemed to be referred to as “brew pubs”. The major cities themselves (at least those we visited: Florence, Rome, Sorrento, and Positano) seemed to lack craft breweries in the way that we are familiar with them back home in America.

The closest place that we found, Archea Brewery in Florence, was still more of a “craft beer bar” than a “brewery”–again, at least in how we’re familiar with the latter throughout the United States. This was still a great local spot that featured craft beers from local Italian breweries–particularly many throughout Tuscany.

And so, this is not to say that craft breweries do not exist–in fact, if you search hard enough via Google Maps, you can find the types of operations that we recognize as craft breweries, although more so in the countryside, not unlike what you would expect with, say, a winery. But with no car, complicated transport, and other travel schedule considerations, there wasn’t a whole of opportunities for us to explore too far outside of the larger population centers where we stayed.

That said, if you do a vacation to Italy yourself, you may very well want to do some research to see if a day-trip to such out-of-town jaunts could be worth the journey!

What Kinds of Beers do They Like?

Just like Americans, Italians seem to have a rich appetite when it comes to varieties of craft beer. At Archea Brewery, we enjoyed some great IPAs, pilsners, and even a honey ale that all tasted on par with any quality brewery here in America.

Beach and beers? Yes, please!

You might have heard how Italians drink throughout the day too–and this is true. It became a common sight to see Italians of all varieties walking with a beer or glass of wine through the streets (literally from dawn to long past dusk!), especially while in Rome. This is not even to say that they drink as much as we do, but that they certainly like to enjoy a cold brew at any and all hours of the day.

Their go-to seems to be hearty ales and pilsners. Peroni was by far the most popular brand name brew we saw throughout our travel. But there are plenty of others. No doubt (and to our pleasant surprise) any beer drinker should be able to survive just fine here–especially if you enjoy beers that are lighter and crisp.

Listen to our Full Thoughts (and Grade)!

Rather than review each place where we found a great beer, we decided instead to review our experiences by grading our experience in each city we visited. So crack a beverage of your own and join us on our podcast to hear our full review (and grade)! Click below to listen to the first episode in our four part Italy recap, or just search “A Grade” wherever you listen to podcasts!

Joe & Jackie

Joe & Jackie

A professor and a grade school teacher taste, review, and grade America’s best coffee roasters, breweries, and more. New episodes every Monday at 9am EST. Now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and more!
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