Friday, July 23, 2010

International Beer of the Week: Birra Moretti

Country: Italy

Best Enjoyed: Alongside an Italian dish at a rustic trattoria.

Consumption of beer in Italy, though a growing trend, is not as widespread as in its European neighbours. Italian culture has always had a historical preference for wine. Nonetheless Italy does have it's share of large breweries. The most widely known internationally is Peroni but another beer that its also available outside of europe, is the slightly lesser known Birra Moretti.
Birra Moretti was founded in Udine in 1859 by Luigi Moretti and In 1996 the company was acquired by Heineken International.

What originally convinced me to buy this beer over the more internationally known Peroni was it's intriguing label. The label displays a very Italian looking man raising a mug of beer to his mouth.  After consulting the Birra Moretti website I discovered that the moustached man has an unusual history:

"In 1942, Birra Moretti had already been a popular drink all over Friuli for over 80 years. One day, Commander Lao Menazzi Moretti saw a pleasant-looking old man with a moustache sitting at a little table in the Boschetti di Tricesimo inn. He was just the kind of character Moretti had been looking for to represent the qualities and character of his beer: wholesome, traditional and authentic. Commander Moretti didn’t let him get away. He went up to him and asked the man if he could photograph him and also asked him what he would like in return. "Cal mi dedi di bevi, mi baste" – answered the man in Friuli dialect, which means "Get me a drink, that’ll do."'

Birra Moretti's flagship beer is a European lager that has remained almost unchanged since it was introduced in over 150 years ago in 1859. Its alcohol content is 4.6% alcohol by volume.

When poured from the bottle the beer is clear straw-yellow in colour. Produces a frothywhite head that settles into a creamy white lace.  The beer smells of sweet grains and mildly of grassy hops
The taste is somewhat sweet and a little bready with some grain husk flavours and a very slight metalic taste.  Finishes with an ever so little hop taste.

While not something I will be rushing out to get at my local liquor store, this is a nice beer for a hot Italian summer afternoon to to accompany an Italian dish at a one of Rome's many trattorias.

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