Friday, 20 May 2011

Italia - Part One

This weekend I went on somewhat of an epic stag do; most go to the casino, most do strip clubs, most do football, I just did beer and a stunning old and picturesque place which we call Roma.

Firstly I can only apologise for lack of pictures. My Android phone run out of power and I took the wrong charger. Amateurish here one may say. However let's give the beer the talking as it did, quite frequently to me on several occasions during the trip!

I arrived at my hotel after an ordeal on the underground, realising a little too late that there was two connections between where I wanted other than the one I had mistakenly read on google maps. Thanks, Google!

I dropped off my bags; headed for the nearest internet café to find out where my party was (epic fail - roaming switched off and everyone else an hour away) and then to the next best place close to Brassiere 4:20 which my limited intellect knew. As my phone had google maps I was able to easily navigate to the fantastic football pub - Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà, some sort of football bar hybrid with a beer cellar and beer taps. Wow. What more do I need to do to get this place as a local? My town has NO descent places to see football in. This is something special.

I witness the Lazio and Arsenal t-shirts on display which keep me happy; supporting both clubs for a long time. I twitch my ears to tune into the most glorious post Sabbath metal riffs emerging from the stereo, eye up the bar and find my friend Ryan's brews have made it! I'm quite speechless. Two of Ryan's brews in a pub in Italy which has both football and METAL on a the same time! This is a quite frankly astounding way to start my weekend.

I await evening kick off and entertain a stag party; a home brewer into Belgian beer, speak metal with the barman and dive into halfs of Crooked Moon amber beer and Tipopils, both costing around 5 Euros a glass each. Next up is a superb Nogne O stout from Norway. This was considerably bitter, had thick dark chocolate, syrup, leather. coffee, roasted malts, cream, espresso, well balanced, intricate and biscuity malt based but done in a great manner.

Evening kick off is near and commotion arises, I turn my head and find Manuele, friend and owner behind me. Emphatic greetings all round. Manuele informs me that Lazio are about to play so I inform in return that I used to watch them on an early morning football show called Italia 90, a coverage dedication programme ala Match of the Day for Italian football, way back in the 90's on Channel Four. I won't bore you with the football talk.

He offers to find me the rare bottles (gold hen's tooth rarity levels) of the Cigar City beers but these limited brews were unattainable so instead I order a De Struise Pannepot (the Sturdy Brewery in northern Belgium). This is one of my favourite beers of all time, but in a football bar? How does this make sense? I love this place.

After the game we visit Bier et Fud. I enjoyed a superb, surely Michelin standard asparagus meal with a unique modern chaux pastry twist and a spectacular and refined sauce. An amazing post meal Balladin rarity was to be consumed before my two mile walk back to meet my entourage, after dinner and drinks were paid for, of course.

I met my entourage around 11:30 at Brassiere 4:20, commence generous group hugs and see our host for the weekend opening bottles of the Revelation Cat Woodwork Lambic Series. Read on two part two for the remainder of the weekend. To get messier.