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30 June 2016

32 Via dei Birrai: Italian Craft Beer


Gone are the days when Italian beer ranks a comfortable low spot in the drink scene over wine. Italian commercial beers are good but they're not likely to pull so much interest on the dining table. In my house, cold bottles of commercial beer only come out when there are round pizzas on the table. Moving forward, things shifted in the beer world. Italian craft beer is becoming big and is still growing. With nearly 600 breweries brewing different blends, beer received a new acclamation from both beer enthusiasts and curious drinkers. Stray away from your usual drinks, pull a chair and let's discover 32 Via dei Birrai's eight different kinds of beer together.


Ten years old and going strong in Italy and beyond, 32 Via dei Birrai has eight different kinds of beer in their brewery. All different, all exceptional and all worth telling you about. Founded by Fabiano Toffoli, Alessandro Zilli and Loreno Michielin in 2006 with their respective expertise in mind, 32 Via dei Birrai became the first Italian artisan microbrewery that received the ISO quality and IC certificates guaranteeing 100% Made in Italy products. 

Aside from that, 32 Via dei Birrai also became the first Italian microbrewery craft beer that obtained the Slow Brewing certificate and also the first to be certified vegan - in accordance to their use of quality raw materials and very rigorous microbiological parameters.


Meeting Loreno over a dinner event by chance once, he asked me to check out his beers the following morning at their Cibus International Food Exhibition stall in Parma (Italy) before I headed back to Rome. At half past nine in the morning, there I was with him, absorbing everything he is explaining about the company, the concept and the quality of their beers while sipping a glass of Curmi, their floral and fruity wheat ale. I wouldn't normally have a glass of beer at that time of the day but Curmi has a pleasant, light, floral flavor and when served at the right temperature, it is so refreshing.


The creativity of their packaging simply amazed me because every single thing had been thought of meticulously. They can be reused to something quirky, fun and useful. Take for example the triple seal of their bottles (which they only produce in one size - 750 ml. by the way). The capsule gives extra protection, the crown cap is in aluminum and the plastic cork, which prevents the entry of oxygen to the bottle, can be used to close the bottle again after partial consumption (just like how you would with wine). In the packaging, you get a little screw with an attached ring so that after finishing a bottle, you can use the cork as a key ring. In the cardboard box, you can detach coasters and address cards.  With their various kinds of packaging, there are more things that they have come up with.


After a week of parting that morning in Cibus, a big box containing 6 bottles of beer arrived in my house. I continued the beer tasting at home that I couldn't continue that morning. It had been a pleasant ride trying the beers of one of the best craft beer microbreweries in the country. 


CURMI (wheat ale) is a spiced top-fermented ale made with spelt and barley malt with secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has a pale straw yellow color, medium body and has 5.8% alcohol content. It has a refreshing, slightly acidulous flavor with floral notes and aromas of exotic fruits. Pairs well with raw vegetables with dip, delicate foods without greasy sauces, fresh soft cheese and sponge cakes.

AUDACE (Belgian strong ale) is a strong, double-malt, spiced, top-fermented ale with secondary fermentation in the bottle. Like the Curmi, it also has a pale straw yellow color but with a stronger alcohol content of 8.4%. It has hints of citrus fruit, warm yellow flowers, almond and peach in syrup. Pairs well with rich food without greasy sauces, smoked food, ripened hard cheese and oysters.

OPPALE (Belgian-style hopped beer) is a highly hopped light top-fermented beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has a light color coppery glints, full body and has an alcohol content of 5.5%. It has a well-balanced flavor with notes of caramel and toffee and hints of pineapple.

TRE+DUE (unfiltered, spiced light ale) is a highly hopped, spiced, light, top-fermented ale with secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has a pale straw yellow color with an alcohol content of 3.2%. It has a mid-palate bitterness flavor with a clean feel, a finish that has the freshness of coriander and intensely fruity and herbaceous bouquet with hints of citrus fruit. Pairs well with fragrant, fresh food as well as mildly seasoned and rich dishes.


NEBRA (amber-colored beer) is an amber-colored double malt top-fermented beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has an amber color and has an alcohol content of 8%. It has a delicate with a lingering aftertaste that is extremely pleasant in the mouth and has soft aromas of white flowers, caramel and a light spiciness. Pairs well with a delicate, dry hard biscuit after dinner or it can also be enjoyed on its own. 

ATRA (brown beer) is a double malt top-fermented ale with secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has dark color like a monk's habit, light, water body with an alcohol content of 7.3%. It has a gentle bitter flavor and aromas of coffee, caramel and chocolate. Pairs well with beans and lentils, vegetable soups, pork shin with crackling, chocolate cake, crème caramel and panna cotta.
ADMIRAL (Scottish red) is an amber-colored double malt top-fermented beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has a dark amber color with ruby glints, full body and an alcohol content of 6.3%. It has a slight acidic flavor with herbaceous hints. Pairs well with game such as pigeon, hare, venison and wild boar.

NECTAR (honey beer) is a dark double malt top-fermented chestnut honey beer that is bottle conditioned. It has a dark color, full body and an 8% alcohol content. It has pronounced flavor of chestnut honey, caramel, bitter herbs and a gentle acidity. Pairs well with soft, ripe cheeses with strong aroma and flavor, cheesecake, cured and smoked cold meats. 

ACE TO 32 (beer vinegar) is a kind of vinegar that was left to oxidize very slowly at a natural temperature. It has notes of citrus fruit, malt and almonds. Can be served with fried food, fish with solid flesh like salmon and prawns, chocolate desserts, diluted in water or in cocktails. This comes in spray bottles of 250 ml.


"The circle,  a curved line, able to outline the brewing tradition cycle and to lead to the discovery of as yet unknown routes, thanks to the happy insight of a skillful master brewer, a business expert, and an engineer with a passion for homebrewing. Whether for fun or for pleasure, it is in any case a new brewmaker style, which intends changing the way of perceiving beer and opening it up to complementary worlds. 32 Via dei Birrai has come into being." 
- 32 Via dei Birrai

32 Via dei Birrai

Onigo di Pederobba (TV) Italy
Tel: +39 0423 681983
Fax: +39 0423 64691