Italy is known for its great wines, and this often means that their amazing beers are not given the same praise.
In the last few decades, beer-making in Italy has reached new levels, and there are some delicious beers that are now not only popular in Italy, but around the world too.
Forget German and Belgian beers for now, and instead try out some of the best and most popular Italian beers available! You will be surprised at the flavors and depth that these beers have.
Between meals with a glass of wine, why not switch to a refreshing and crisp beer?
So, what are some of the best and most popular Italian beers? The best and most popular Italian beers include Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Cortigiana, Birra Moretti, Quarta Runa, Peroni Gran Riserva, and Birra Messina, amongst others.
To help you get started with choosing some Italian beers, here are the 11 best and most popular Italian beers available, both in Italy and worldwide, which are all worth a try!
1. Peroni Nastro Azzurro
Peroni is an Italian beer known around the world. It is considered to be one of the oldest brew houses in Italy, brewing for over 175-years, and has a strong foothold in the beer industry worldwide.
The most well-known Peroni beer is Peroni Nastro Azzurro. This beer has a crisp, refreshing, and distinctive taste, featuring hints of citrus aroma, with a golden color similar to Prosecco.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro has been brewed since 1963, following the same quality and attention to detail.
The beer has just gone through a rebrand, where the Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s bottle will now take shape from authentic Italian heritage and the rich history it holds.
The new bottle has sophisticated curves and shapes, and the engraved signature of Giovanni Peroni, one of the founders of Peroni, will be displayed on the bottle.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro is considered to be a premium beer around the world, especially in the United Kingdom.
It is a refreshing beer that has a delicate balance between bitterness and a subtle citrus aroma, making it the perfect beer to drink no matter the occasion.
The alcohol content in Peroni Nastro Azzurro is 5.1%, and it is a lager type beer. The taste notes are crispy and refreshing, with the notable addition of a citrus aroma. The color is a beautiful gold, reminiscent of the color of Prosecco.
Whether in Italy or anywhere else in the world, Peroni Nastro Azzurro is definitely a beer to try!
2. Cortigiana Beer
Cortigiana is a creamy, intense beer that has rich notes of vanilla essence and cinnamon. This beer, while intense, is incredibly refreshing and is ideal to enjoy on a hot summer’s evening.
Brewed in the Borgorose region of Italy, Cortigiana is considered an ale. It has a 5% alcohol content, and it is a medium-bodied golden ale.
Many people consider Cortigiana to be the most affordable good beer for anyone in Italy to enjoy, locals and travelers alike.
When enjoying Cortigiana, it should be served in a tulip glass, but many people enjoy it straight out of the bottle, as the bottle and the label are too fun and quirky to be ignored!
Cortigiana is made with alternative cereals in addition to the normal barley malt. These include buckwheat, einkorn, and a small number of oat flakes.
A moderate amount of hops is used, while a generous amount of spice is added in near the last step of boiling.
Along with vanilla essence and cinnamon, a good amount of ginger, orange peel, and coriander are added to give the ale a fresh, smooth, and aromatic profile that is rich and so enjoyable.
If you are taking a trip through Italy, then a few bottles of Cortigiana should be on your must-try list.
3. Birra Moretti
Moretti beer has been through a change of hands recently, and the brewhouse has come out remaining an Italian brand.
In 1996, the brewery was bought by Heineken, a Dutch brand. However, the Italians were not happy with their beloved Moretti now falling into Dutch hands and encouraged the Antitrust Authority to get involved.
Due to this, Heineken had to sell the trademark of Moretti back to Birra Castello, an Italian brand.
Moretti is now still manufactured by Heineken and produced at the Heineken factory in Milan, but it is owned by Birra Castello.
With all of that aside, Moretti is known as an easy drink that is best suited for a hot day under the Italian sun. It is an authentic quality lager that is brewed with passion and the finest ingredients.
A special blend of hops helps to create a well-balanced lager with some fruity and hoppy notes. This is finished off with moderate bitterness and a very clean, refreshed aftertaste.
It has an alcohol percentage of 4.6% and the main ingredients include water, malted barley, maize, and hop extract.
Birra Moretti is a great beer to pair with different Italian dishes, such as pasta or seafood dishes. The fresh and simple taste of the beer transports you straight to the hills of Tuscany!
4. Quarta Runa
Quarta Runa is a beer made by the microbrewery Birra Montegioco in Piedmont, Italy. This microbrewery is known for its great line of specialty beers that have broken through into international markets and which are enjoyed worldwide.
The microbrewery manufactures a range of barley-based sour ales and wines, and all of these are packaged in their signature packaging.
All bottles are wrapped in bright colored paper, which is twisted into a sealing. All the different beers and ales are wrapped in different color paper.
The Quarta Runa beer from this range is definitely one to try. It has 7% alcohol content and is brewed using the aroma from locally baked peaches, notes which are undeniable when you take a sip of the strong ale!
Other hints from spices and baked fruits are also included and noticeable.
The baked fruit notes and spices in the beer make it a perfect pairing with a dessert, camembert cheese, or even a slice of pie!
This beer is enjoyed on occasion and is considered a top-tier beverage. When looking to purchase Quarta Runa, make sure to choose the yellow wrapped bottle which is sealed with an orange tip.
5. Peroni Gran Riserva
Peroni, which is already on this list with the Nastro Azzurro, has another beer that is worthy of the list.
The Peroni Gran Riserva was released in 1996, with the Gran Riserva being a celebration of Peroni’s 150th anniversary. This anniversary was considered a fairly big deal, being a brewery set in the heart of a country known for wine.
Peroni, and Gran Riserva, are brewed in Rome. It is brewed using Saaz hops, and malt from Prisma Barley. It is left to brew for 8 weeks and is then ready to be enjoyed.
The resultant brew is coppery and sweet, with a slight acidic hint, leaving behind lingering notes of caramel and toffee.
The beer has an alcohol content of 5.1%, which is considered fairly favorable.
The beer has gained popularity worldwide thanks to it keeping the traditional way of serving beer, with a miniature long-necked wine-style bottle, which just looks incredibly classy!
The Peroni Gran Riserva actually comes in 3 different types: Gran Riserva Rossa, which has a more coppery color, Gran Riserva Puro Malto, which is a lighter beer, and the Gran Riserva Doppio Malto, which is a darker colored lager.
6. Messina Beer
Messina Beer is a well-known beer made in Sicily. Birra Messina is the classic recipe, made with utmost care and passion, and using the best ingredients picked out by the master brewers.
Messina is a lager beer and has an alcohol content of 4.7%, which is a decent percentage to have. It has a brilliant gold color that really captures the feel and tradition of Sicily, where it is brewed.
The foam of Birra Messina is candid, fine, and compact, making for a very pleasant and refreshing drink.
The actual taste of the beer is refreshing, with well-balanced bitterness and a dry finish. Enjoy an aroma of malts and hops with this dry and crisp drink.
To really celebrate Sicily and everything it has to offer, Messina created Birra Messina Cristalli Di Sale, which is a specially-brewed beer containing a very special ingredient: Sicilian salt crystals.
This is also a must-try beer in Italy, so we have placed the two Messina beers together!
Birra Messina Cristalli Di Sale is an unfiltered lager with a 5% alcohol content. It is a golden, naturally opalescent beer that has a compact and persistent foam.
The taste of the Cristalli Di Sale is delightful, it is soft, fine, and perfectly balanced. It has a floral and fruity aroma and is a little less dry than the classic Birra Messina.
Messina, like Moretti, was acquired by Heineken Italia S.p.A group, but it is still brewed in Sicily, and it still pays homage to its roots thanks to use the of Sicilian salt crystals which make it a unique beer that cannot be matched.
Both of the Messina beers are worth testing out.
Menabrea is an old and timely brand of beer that is produced by Menabrea in Biella, Piedmont, with the brewery found in historic headquarters.
The Menabrea brewery produces a range of beers, but the two most popular are the Bionda Lager and the Amber Ambrata.
The Bionda Lager is matured gently at the perfect temperature found in the cave cellars, this gives the beer superior clarity of taste. The Bionda has an alcohol content of 4.8%, which is a good percentage for light drinking.
Being well-balanced, the beer has fruity, citrus, and floral hints, and has some bitter tones too. These all work together to give the beer a consistent and refined flavor.
It is further highlighted by a complicated malty, hoppy taste, featuring an exceptional head retention thanks to the quality of ingredients and the maturation process.
The Ambrata is a 5.0% alcohol content beer, and it is a full-bodied, well-rounded amber beer. It has a moderately bitter flavor that makes it refreshing and enjoyable.
It is amber in color but has bronze overtones. This beer is considered to be a showcase of the brewery’s exceptional capabilities and expertise when it comes to brewing.
These two beers, along with the others that Menabrea is known for, are refined and for discerning beer lovers!
8. Angelo Poretti
Angelo Poretti Brewery is an Italian brewery that belongs to Carlsberg, a Danish group.
However, Angelo Poretti beers still stay true to the Italian-beer style and feature some incredible ingredients and unique recipes to make them stand-out Italian beers.
There is a wide range of beers that fall under the Angelo Poretti name, but the two most notable are the Birrificio Angelo Poretti 3 Luppoli, and the Birrifico Angelo Poretti 5 Luppoli Bock Chiara.
The Birrificio Angel Poretti 3 Luppoli is a wonderfully easy-drinking lager that has fresh, thirst-quenching attributes making it a great beer to enjoy during a summer’s day, and to enjoy with everyday meals.
It has a mild body and a balanced bitterness, which makes it a great beer to drink when you do not want anything too rich or overwhelming.
It is recommended to enjoy this beer with Mediterranean flavors. The alcohol content of the 3 Luppoli is 4.8%, and it is a pilsner beer.
The Birrifico Angelo Poretti 5 Bock Chiara is a pale bock that is full of body and character.
This beer has a very decisive flavor and a round body, which is accentuated with a moderately bitter note. This is best enjoyed with intensely flavored starters, such as aged cheese and cold cuts.
The beer has an alcohol content of 6.5% and is a bock beer.
While Birrifico Angelo Poretti has been bought out by the Carlsberg Group, the history of the brewery dates back to 1877, where it was founded in Induno, Olona.
It still pays respect to the traditional recipes and ingredients used, and this can be tasted in the range of quality beers that Angelo Poretti has to offer.
9. Lambrate Ghisa
Lambrate Ghisa is a delicately bitter beer, and it is an easy-drinking beer that still has a rich, dark profile.
The beer has an alcohol content of 5% and has a thick, cappuccino-colored foam. It is a smoky stout-style beer that has notes of dried fruit, licorice, and cocoa.
The delightful and complex flavor will leave you wanting more after each sip, enjoying the pitch-black beer which has a moderate tan head.
While the beer is dark and rich, it does feature very delicate flavors that complement the delicate bitterness, which is achieved by toasting of the malts.
This bitterness is balanced well with a slightly sweet edge in the finish, and a mix of milky sweetness and roasted coffee hints.
The beer is brewed in Birrifico Lambrate, which is a craft brewery in the Lambrate district of Milan. It is fairly new, only founded in 1996, but it has become one of the country’s most popular stouts since.
The smoky flavor with the toffee and coffee accents, followed by a delicate and smooth bitter end, and the “friar’s-frock” color, make this a deliciously special beer that is a must-try if you happen to find a bottle close by.
Taking a look at the name, you wouldn’t assume that Forst is an Italian beer. However, it is, and it is brewed in the Bolzano area, which is in fact a bilingual area in Italy. Forst produces a range of different beers, both dark and light.
The brewery is steeped in history, founded in 1857 by two entrepreneurs. It was initially found in Algund, which is where it is still to this day.
Being found in the foothills of the Italian Alps, the brewery is able to brew using natural spring water.
This ensures that the quality of ingredients maintained is high above par, which is why it is one of the most popular breweries in Italy.
When trying out a Forst beer, there are two popular options: Forst Premium Lager and Forst Sixtus Doppelbock. Both are high-quality beers with distinctive tastes.
The Forst Premium Lager has an alcohol content of 4.8%, and as the name suggests, is lager. It has a great balance between hops and malts and has a particularly fragrant aroma, which features an adherent and persistent head.
This is a great session beer to enjoy, but it also pairs beautifully with many different beers, and it has subtle notes and flavors that are not overwhelming, while still being a refreshing beer to enjoy.
The other Forst beer to try is the Sixtus Doppelbock. This has a higher alcohol content, of 6.5%, which makes it a velvety and malty beer. It features warm notes of toasted spices and caramel and has an intense aroma of roasted malts.
This is softened by a discreet hint of hops. The beer has a compact and persistent head.
Both of these beers have different tastes and qualities, but both are made with top-tier ingredients and fresh spring water straight from the Italian Alps!
Ichnusa is a beer that is produced in Sardinia, Italy. It is another beer that is owned by the Heineken group, but it is still proudly Italian in the ingredients and recipes used.
The name Ichnusa, since 1912, has been synonymous with Sardinia, as it is the most popular beer in this region. It is an authentic golden larger that has a hoppy taste, with bitter notes, and which pairs perfectly with Italian cuisine.
The alcohol content of Ichnusa is 47%, which makes it enjoyable and easy to drink. The moderately bitter taste does make it stand out among other lagers, but it is an enjoyable bitter that is balanced out beautifully.
The beer was created by Amsicora Capra, who was a respected winemaker. In 1912, he embarked on a mission to create the ideal beer for the people of Sardinia, and Ichnusa was the proud result.
The brewery did have to shut for 30 years while the world was at war, but in 1945, the brewery reopened and the beer continued to be the favorite of Sardinians and others in Italy.
Ichnusa Lager Beer is a pale lager with a light color and discreet aroma. It is moderately crisp and refreshing, with persistent tight foam.
Now that we’ve gone over the best and most popular Italian beers, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Is Stella Artois an Italian beer?
Stella Artois is not an Italian beer.
It is a Belgian beer, which was originally brewed in Leuven, in Belgium.
What is the most popular beer in Italy?
The beer which is had the most in Italy is Peroni.
Peroni alone accounts for 14% of beer enjoyed in Italy, which is substantial considering all the other brand options that are available.
What type of beer is Peroni?
Peroni Nastro Azzuro is a lager beer. It is a refreshing beer that is full of Italian style.
It is the most popular beer in Italy and for very good reason. It is a sophisticated beer crafted with excellence.
What is Peroni Red?
Peroni Red is a slightly darker-colored beer compared to Peroni Nastro Azzuro.
It has more pronounced malty and hoppy characteristics, and is full of floral and fruity notes, giving it a clean, smooth, and refreshing finish.
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