After ten hours hard labour we like nothing better than to go to the pub for a couple of pints, Italians are more likely to hit the bar for a quick coffee and get home asap.Its not that Italians don't drink, they just tend not to in public, unless there is a good excuse, for example a market in town with a beer tent....
Despite this there are many interesting beers to be found in Italy, not just those imported from Germany, Holland and Belgium (see Will's Venezia piece last year, or check out "The Beer Book" - isbn 9781-1-4053-3301-6), and it was on our latest trip that we found ourselves drinking excellent local beer in a quality pub in the northern city of Bergamo.
Until recently you didn't get Brits in Bergamo, then Ryanair took over the local airport and renamed it Milan (Orio al Serio), the cities football teams are Atalanta and AlbinoLeffe for extra confusion. Once in the city, head for the "Citta Alta", unspoilt medieval, narrow cobbled streets, restaurants, deli's, cafe bars, and decent pubs.
One is "La Antiqua Birreria de Bergamo" to one side of Piazza Vecchia, on the other side, on Via Colleoni Bartolomeo, is the "Papageno Pub" (pictured) , 5 "birra alla spina", Dutch, Belgium and German - an extensive Belgium bottle menu and, new to this visit, local beer from the "Birrifico Artiginale de Maurizio & Miriam" (http://www.mm1989.it/) brewed just outside Bergamo in the town of Ponte San Pietro.
Four different beers were available from the brewery, Ilary, a weiss beer @4.5%, Miriam, blond @5.5%, Francy, amber @5.5% and Mary, a dark 5.5% which we did not have time to try. All were superbly crafted, hoppier than the German ales that were the inspiration, and a drinkable abv too. Our fellow drinkers turned out to be from Lancashire and Galway, locals popped in for a quick coffee.............
We shall return.