Monday, 16 November 2009

I love lager and Tipopils is one of the best Pilsners in Europe at the moment

Some time ago a lot of loot is spent promoting Peroni with the fountain scene recreated from La Dolce Vita (well I suppose it wouldn’t work recreating a scene from Bicycle Thieves or Rome Open City). Why bother though, Birrifico Italiano’s Tipopils is the most glorious Pilsner in Europe at the moment (for me that is). A bottle finds its way to me and boy do I enjoy it (in company with last night’s Doctor Who). Poured into the glass it crackles and snaps on the palate, is big and bold in both nose and flavour; it’s a beer that stamps its own identity with a crisp and refreshing arrival in the mouth. It’s bitter and aromatic, dry and sprightly, fragrant, resiny, powerful, punchy (if you want to be technical a bright fragrant note mingles with a darker hop pungency on the nose, whilst on the palate it is clean and refreshing and expansive in the finish). It’s put into a 750ml bottle (the sort of bottle that is always tiresomely designated as ‘good for sharing’, but no one but me is having this beauty). I’ve visited the brewery whose nerve centre is a Swiss-looking tavern in Lurago Marinone, south of Como and I can recommend that the trip be made. Amber Shock and Bi-Bock are there for the taking as well, while at the right time of the year Extra Hop (see pic), can be found, which is served with a hop cone of Mittelfrau on the top of its foam. The crying shame about this beer is that apart from GBBF’s foreign bar, this glorious beer and others like it from the Italian renaissance are not available over here — whether that’s good (it means a trip and the widening of beer-drinking horizons) or bad (you fly and rack up the air miles), is up to others. I know that I hope to return next year, my palate can hardly wait.


  1. 'a Swiss-looking tavern in Lurago Marinone'

    Ah, interesting, this... What leads you to associate BI's admiral ship with swissness ?

    (Not trying to poke fun, here, it's about understanding the perception of Switzerland in non-Swiss minds. Might come useful to help Swiss brewers figuring out how to flog their stuff on the British market, for example.)

  2. Lauent, it looked like the sort of chalet place you get in Switzerland or maybe 1930s Hollywood’s vision of the place, ie in Laurel & Hardy’s Swiss Miss. No offence meant, I mean, I would love to try some of the Swiss 1001 beers you did for me. Also, isn’t Como close to the border, not as near as Bi-Du but still pretty near.

  3. Indeed Bi-Du used to be very much on the border... ;o)

    No offence taken, don't worry. The chalet thing, dark wood and all is more Birrifico Lambrate than Birrificio Italiano. Could be you're mixing up the two here ? ;o)

    Granted, BI with its very sober, clean, functional design, could possibly feel it belongs more to the Germanic sphere than to Italy proper.

    Anyway, I concur, smashing beers indeed they brew, and TipoPils is pure pleasure.

  4. Laurent, no mix up, Lambrate and BI very different, I thought of Fellini with the courtyard out the back when I went to see the brewery, imagined Anna Magnani yelling out of a window. With BI, maybe it’s the Germanic thing I was noting rather than the Swiss chalet, but as you say all great beers (Lambrate included).

  5. Absolutely agree with you, Tipopils is without a doubt the best Pilsener-style lager to come out of Europe at the moment IMO. Everything that Birrificio Italiano does that I have tasted is close to fantastic. From their brilliant slightly sour Fleurette, the wonderfully fragrant, malty and subtley acidic 2008 Malt Liquor, the Musa, gently soured by lemon juice or the brilliant Scires, it's all good!

    Agostino takes great pride in his selection of fantastic German hops and visits Germany every year to personally select the best of the best. He takes pride in what he does and it's from this that brewers such as us at Thornbridge take inspiration.

    I really think Italy will be the new US of craft brewing and I can't wait till they start exporting more!!

    Kelly Ryan

  6. Italy is the place to be, it seems. I'm always on the lookout for new Lagers - a seriously underrated style in our world - and I need to get my hands on this. Sounds awesome.