What’s Brewing in Umbria?

June 10, 2013 / Food & Wine
Umbria

Umbria is hopping the craft beer bandwagon, which took off in the US in the late 1980s and mushroomed in Italy–traditionally a wine-making country–after a 1995 law legalized home-brewing and streamlined regulations for microbreweries.

Birra_Magnum_Mon_50506ef1a35b2

Though Italian brewing has roots in Etruscan and Roman history, modern production was dominated by two or three big commercial breweries. Over the past ten years, however, the number of craft breweries has exploded, going from less than 100 to over 500 in under ten years.

The center of micro-brewing remains the northern Italy and Rome, though plucky Umbria has opened more than a dozen tiny local breweries in just the past few years. These enjoy more freedom to experiment with ingredients than vintners in the heavily regulated wine industry, so are able to produce quirky local brews with creative ingredients worth the time and effort to seek out.

Some that are particularly memorable?…

Birra Nursia (www.birranursia.com)
A community of Benedictine monks in Norcia began brewing last year (their first batch—put on the market in the summer of 2012—sold out almost immediately) and visitors can both tour the brewery and taste their Blond and Extra Dark directly at their monastery in the main Piazza San Benedetto.

nursia

Birra Camiano (www.birracamiano.com)
Thomas Bereiter and his partner Heidi fell in love with Umbria during a vacation here, and they eventually settled in the heart of Umbria’s wine country to…brew beer. He began producing in 2010 his Xanthos, Copper4, and MegaPorter, all of which can be sampled and purchased at the brewery.

Birra San Biagio (www.birrasanbiagio.com)
San Biagio takes both inspiration and techniques from the monastic brewing tradition and is helped along by the use of the local spring water. Alongside their three basic brews, they also produce a wheat ale and, at Christmas, a batch infused with bay.

birra dell'eremo

Birra dell’Eremo (www.birradelleremo.it)
Since just last year Assisi has its own local brewery run by a group of young brewers with a logo evoking Saint Francis and his famous taming of the wolf. Their three brews can be found at a number of pubs and restaurants in the region.

Rebecca Winke

by Rebecca Winke

Owner of Brigolante Apartments, a restored 16th century stone farmhouse / guesthouse in the heart of Umbria near Assisi, and blogger of life in Umbria. For tips and insider information about visiting Umbria, download her Umbria Slow App and see her writings on her personal website!

5 Responses to “What’s Brewing in Umbria?”

  1. Anne Robichaud

    Rebe’, enjoyed your note on the ever-more -popular birre artigianali..and lots of people yesterday at the cheese festival in Valnerina enjoying cheese-tastings with beer rather than wine…

    Reply
  2. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Thank you so very much for this interesting,informative piece. I have a modest Birra/enoteca in cantina with few Italian birra.
    Each of the sites listed were very informative and worth pursuit. Grazie tanti

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the tips, Rebecca! I wanted to mention that on the border of Umbria and Le Marche is Apecchio, the Città della Birra, with a beer festival in September. But locally, in northern Umbria, you can enjoy the excellent brew made by Apecchio’s Collesi brewery, to accompany ciaccia sul panaro, the local flatbread sandwich, at Il Covo del Contrabbaniere. This little restaurant overlooks a fishing lake in Cospaia, the village near San Giustino formerly known as a haven for smugglers, an independent republic, and the birthplace of tobacco in Italy. It’s a favorite summer stop while touring the Upper Tiber Valley.

    Reply
  4. Toni DeBella

    Rebecca….I liked to know what the research to write this article involved? Hey, come to Orvieto and you, me and Linda will do our own beer taste test! xxo toni

    Reply

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