In 2014 I first visited Rome and found out it was not a "beer desert", rather it's been years that Italians have taken their craft beer to another level with same passion, sophistication and skills they had for their food or leather bags. Highly influenced by their beer neighbor Belgium, most popular craft beer here is packed with flavor and complexity. And man, there're just so many good ones! Before my short trip came to and end, I made a bold wish at the Trevi Fountain, to come back one day and drink them all.
Long story short, this year TheBrewGirl got an invitation to this EurHop beer festival, in ROME-- well, you had me at Rome! And without "live music" or "gourmet food", it has been top 1 on the Itlalian beer geeks' favorite festival list 3 years in a row. This is it! This is our chance to drink them all, and who said you shouldn't dream big?
先说地点，从2013年第一届开始，就在这个鸟不拉屎的EUR区举办。从Wikipedia上的信息看，EUR（Esposizione Universale Roma）就是为了1942年那场著名的无疾而终的世界博览会而建，位于罗马市中心以南。如今故人已去，但建筑依旧坚挺，而且像所有世博会园区一样，这里简直是一个大迷宫！从市中心花30分钟一路开来，再在谷歌地图的帮助下找了10多分钟，终于看到这个门面的时候我们激动得差点泪流满面.
Obiviously the festival took its name from the area it happens: EUR District of Rome. Short for Esposizione Universale Roma, this area was built and abandoned for the notorious 1942 World's Fair. Located South of the city Rome, it took us merely 30 mins drive from the city centre. The buildings are magnificent, but like all the world's fair zone, they all look the same! Following Google Map instruction here is like a hamster chasing carrot cubes on its running wheel, but it's all worth it when we finally landed at the door.
1. 别打碎品饮杯 （凭入场券赠送一个，补买要5欧元）；
2. 别穿啤酒品牌宣传衫 （下面会说原因）；
Did we tell you it's a 3-day festival? Upon seeing the brewery list, you won't choose any but the 3-day pass (which only costs 18 Euro) if you were a true beer geek!
在门口领好杯子和一本导览就可以开始“遗愿清单”了。虽然有61家酒厂和超过400款啤酒，价格机制却相当简单：除了少数限量或特别版本，大部分啤酒以4欧元一杯或2欧元试饮（注意，试饮并不是半杯，而是酿酒师凭良心和心情倒给你）的价格出售。当然也有名不见经传的酒厂企图以高价提升形象, 比如加州的Bagby Beer Company, 浏览啤酒评分网站后，我们直接把它移出了清单。
Before rushing in, we collected 2 amazing things: a tasting glass (comes with the ticket, hooray!) and a brochure lists all the 61 breweries and over 400 different beers they brought. Now it's time to make our "bucket list". The goal is simple: to drink 100 different beers in 3 days meanwhile just stay sober enough to record them. Luckily the pricing is rather simple, apart from some limited or special edition, most beer is sold for 4 Euro per pint or 2 Euro per tasting (which doesn't mean half pint. The brewers make decision how much beer they wanna pour you, and remember they are most Italians.)
We ordered different beer by tasting each time, the hardest part turned out was really recording them. Tips: BIG smile gets you BIG pour!
Who'd imagine our best Roman holiday is drinking beer on the porch of this middle-of-nowhere auditorium?
Beer poured by brewers alwasy tastes better.
Don't be a beer- Maffia! Even though you know the brewers or wear a Cantillon shirt, doesn't mean you should have a beer for free. Respect the sweat & blood those good people put to present you such an amazing drink.
Cheaper than any beer, but the best souvenir for your Chinese friends.
It was intense, it was chaotic, it was a lot laughter, some regrets and "holy shit" moments-- most of all, it's so far our best beer festival experience. Our livers seem to be fine, and we managed to record these 5 memorable beers from not-so-famous (yet) breweries:
- SENTENZA by Brewfist
这是Brewfist经典巧克力咖啡世涛Spagetti Western的实验过桶款，限量1桶，用意大利的Grappa白兰地桶。"厚，柔，缠”-- 这是我醉后的真实笔记。
Brewfist took their classic coffee chocolate stout Spagetti Western and aged it in Grappa barrel. One of the most smooth, well-balanced barrel aged stout that you want to drink with someone under a black velvet blanket on a winter night looking up at the sky full of stars .
- PANGO by Brewski
Juicy IPA is hot this year, but not everyone masters the art of balance like Brewski. PANGO was made with fresh pineapple, mango and passionfruit, you can taste the flavor of each distinct fruit, yet hops played the perfect role of balancing out the sweetness and bring them all together like some adults' jelly beans dancing on your tongue.
- BEERBERA by Loverbeer
This beer has no adding yeast, the spontaneous fermentation happened when Barbera grapes were added. When beer & wine get married, this is their magic baby.
- SAISON DELL'ARAGOSTA by Oxbow & Birrificio del Ducato
Collaboration brew between Italian & American, Maine lobsters boiled in the wort, and it's a GOSE! Need I say more?
- NERD CHOICE by Ritual Lab
意大利人会酿西岸IPA？这是凭着名字挑选这款酒的我的第一反应。Ritual Lab据说是罗马规模最小的酒厂，也是最不按理出牌的。主人兼酿酒师告诉我们他的酿酒灵感来源于曾经居住的城市上海，而他最爱的酒厂-- 竟然是上海的拳击猫！
Might be the smallest brewery in Rome, but they do make some robust beer, one of which is this West Coast style IPA. Fun fact: the brewer and owner used to live in Shanghai and he got the inspiration from his favorite brewery Boxing Cat.
Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fa
Via di Benedetta 25, Rome Italy
小贴士：啤酒节上节奏超快，没有人会和你认真聊天！但结束完一天辛勤工作的大佬们都会相聚到罗马Trastevere区的传奇精酿吧Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fa喝到天亮。今年这家酒吧已迈入第15个年头，老板本人一手策划了EurHop，因为他就是意大利精酿运动的“幕后黑手”！所以这里，才是你结交江湖人士的最佳地点。
Tips: Feel like more face time with these talented brewers? Your best chance is to go to Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fa, the legendary beer bar in Rome's hipster Trastevere area. 15 years since its birth, the owner Manuele Colonna very well played the most important role in Italian craft beer movement. This place is Mecca to craft beer lovers and makers alike. And did I mention the big guys at the EurHop all gathered here to drink more beer after the fest?
Special thanks to: Our friend Alessandro, who made us fall in love with Rome, and its beer.
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