|A Roman holiday|
I never thought I’d be saying those words so often in Italy.
Translation: “Two medium draft beers, please.”
Barb and I drank a lot of wine during our recent Italian vacation but we were expecting to do that. Italy, after all, shares with France the title of largest wine producer in the world, and a good portion of our trip was spent in Tuscany where some of Italy’s most famous wines—Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino—are produced. Each night we enjoyed wonderful meals that were enhanced by equally wonderful bottiglie of vino rosso. The fact that we would also enjoy bicchieri of drought Italian beer each afternoon was an unexpected but pleasant surprise.
We drank those icy cold glasses of Peroni or Moretti while sitting at the little outdoor cafes that are called bars in Italy. The bars are as ubiquitous in Italy as convenience stores and coffee shops are in the states. Besides offering alcoholic refreshments, the bars are where the Italians, and tourists, go for tiny cups of espresso, caffe machiatto and caffe latte. We certainly drank our share of caffeine in these establishments but we found too that a birre alla spina after hours of sight seeing in Rome and Florence or after exploring the magnificent Tuscan hill towns proved to be the perfect restorative.
For restoratives newly available state-side, see the list of beers below.
New and Returning Beers at Siciliano's
- Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Wild, $1.99/12oz - "Another Big Sister of the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale…. Loads of Malted Wheat for a Curious Malt Foundation and a Light Color, But Our Belgian Yeast Leaves a Huge Flavor and Complexishness" (source).
- Lagunitas Brown Shugga, $1.99/12oz (limit 1 6-pack/person) - "An aborted batch of their Old Gnarleywine ended up tasting nearly as good as that they were hoping for, so they bottled it. God bless capitalism" (source).
- Abita Christmas Ale, $1.69/12oz - "As befits any Christmas present, each years offering is a unique product crafted with special care. Generally, this beer is a dark ale, however, the recipe changes each year. Available November thru December" (source).
- Victory Winter Cheers, $1.79/12oz - "A wheat ale, combining German wheat and barley malts, oats, torrified wheat and whole flower Tettnang and Citra hops, this fruity and warming holiday brew delivers a refreshing finish, with spicy hints of banana, clove and citrus" (source).
- Founders Backwoods Bastard, $3.09/12oz - "Big and delicious for your ’perty mouth. Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts. A bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark cherries. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate" (source).
- Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, $1.59/12oz - "Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale represents a time honored tradition of brewing a special beer for the holiday season. There are generous portions of barley malts and fine whole hops of several varieties, creating a brew with a full, rich and hearty character" (source).
- Shorts Good Humans, $1.99/12oz - "Dry hopped double brown ale" (source).
- Shorts Village Reserve, $1.49/12oz - "Fermented as “beer” from wort extracted from fully modified two-row pale malt which provides a beautiful straw color. This beer is aggressively hopped with Perle and Centennial hops. Its light body and low alcohol allow the hops to become more prominent throughout the beer. The floral aroma is attributed to heavy handfuls of centennial hops at the finish of the boil. Hearty handfuls of hops lend a grape fruity tone in the flavor and finish of the beer" (source).
- Shorts Lil' Wheezy, $1.99/12oz - "A light bodied, heavily hopped, amber colored ale with predominant hop aromas of tropical fruit with compliments of sweet malt. The sole hop, Falconer’s Flight, has characteristics of dank earth and grassy hay-like flavors are balanced slightly by some full grain attributes before a big bitter shock strikes the back of the pallet and resonates sharply" (source).
- Heavy Seas Winter Storm, $1.99/12oz - "Our 'winter warmer' ale, brewed with copious helpings of English malts and US and English hops, a ruddy hued 'Imperial ESB' in style. Full malty flavors dancing with powerful hop aromas and a lingering, firm hop bitterness. Seasonally available from mid October to February" (source).
- Rogue Yellow Snow, $2.79/12oz - "Beeston Stout, Chariot Pils, Melanoidin, & Cara Foam Malts, Amarillo Hops" (source).
- Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela No. 1 Pumpkin Beer, $14.39/22oz - "Ok, so the joke was that Jolly Pumpkin doesn’t brew a pumpkin beer. Well, now we do. Just this one. Packed with real pumpkins, hints of spice, and a gentle kiss of cocoa to liven the soul. An everyday easy way to fill your squashy quotient. Guess now folks will have to find something else to joke about" (source).
- Virtue Cider Percheron, $21.59/750ml - "In Normandy, France, cider has been made on the farm for over a thousand years. Apples were carried from orchard to barn by cart, drawn by a big, grey horse—a percheron. The apples were milled and pressed into juice through straw—driven by that same horse—then fermented with wild yeast in used wine barrels. The resulting farm cider, or cidre fermier, was rustic and complex, with notes of both the farm and barrel. Percheron Cidre Fermier is dedicated to the big, beautiful horse of Normandy. Like its French cousin, it bares the unmistakable scent of the farm, a strong body, and a gentle finish" (source).
- Shorts mixed 12-pack of limited availability beers ($20.09/12pk), featuring:
- Shorts Black Diamond - "The new Schwartzbier brew, which translates into a German-style black lager, will be called “Black Diamond”— giving it a nod to winter and skiing. Visually, black lagers can be deceiving, featuring an opaque, black color and a full, chocolatey flavor similar to stout or porter. But unlike its dark cousins, Schwartzbier features a bottom fermenting lager yeast, which produces a medium-bodied brew with a smooth finish that will be worth savoring" (source).
- Shorts Ginger Snap - "An English Dark Brown Ale brewed with cinnamon, molasses, and ginger" (source).
- Shorts Mystery Stout - "This beer demands respect and respect it will have. Imperial Oatmeal Stout with cocoa and molasses. It is very strong and possesses rare flavor combinations which can overload even the most experienced beer connoisseur. Capture every bit of its warmth and wisdom, as it will demand all of your attention" (source).
- Shorts Snow Wheat - "Snow Wheat is a light, clean, easy drinking Hefeweizen. This beer is categorized by a grain bill of 50% malted wheat and a German weizen yeast strain that is directly responsible for the distinctly complex flavors. Immediately evident are the esters of bananas and cloves that reflect similar flavors tasted, in this light clean easy drinking beer" (source).