No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

Why Italians love Belgian beer


Email  •  Print

Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2013-07-22 11:32:48 +0200 / Last Updated: over 1 year ago

why do italians love belgian beer © BeerTourism.com


Last year exports to Italy by Belgian brewers reached 46,209,500 litres, roughly the same volume that was exported to the UK. Italy is now our fifth largest export market after France, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA.

How do we explain the success of Belgian beers in a traditional stronghold of wine?


It’s all about taste

According to brewer, beer watcher and author, Jef Van den Steen it’s first and foremost a matter of good taste. He says: “Italians are keen on taste, in food and Why Italians love Belgian beer Saison d'Erpe-Mere
© BeerTourism.com
drink as well as fashion .

Moreover, they are prepared to spend money on quality, especially in the north of the country.”

A considerable amount of beer is drunk, predominantly pilsner from Germany and Austria.

The up-and-coming Italian microbreweries – there are now about 500 – are launching beers inspired by German styles such as Weizen, Maibock or pils.

They mainly produce blond, bottom fermented beers. However, Italians have now discovered the wide taste palate offered by beer, and this offers wonderful opportunities for the Belgian artisanal brewers.


The quest for balance

The Belgians’ success is down to affordable and well-balanced beers. In contrast to the Italian microbrewers, Belgians tend not to fork out for expensive marketing gimmicks like Jef Van den Steen Jef Van den Steen
© BeerTourism.com
designer bottles, multi-coloured labels etc.

“I can see that the Italian microbrewers tend to offer their own interpretation of our beers,” Jef Van den Steen tells us. “In itself, there’s nothing wrong with that but I feel that they are still at the ‘exaggeration’ stage – wanting to produce the bitterest or sourest beer possible – at the expense of producing a balanced brew.

The brewers want to make their mark and distinguish themselves. Their beers are interesting or daring, but one glass is usually enough and you won’t want any more.”

Pairing food with beer is still the exception rather than the rule in Italy. There are a handful of restaurants offering a large number of Belgian – and other – beers and these establishments do promote food pairing.

“Italians will always have a bite to eat with their beer,” says Jef. “A snack, some cold meats, cheese, a plate of pasta or a small pizza. Just going out to grab a pint is not part of the culture.”

The first specialty businesses selling Belgian cuisine and beers have already started to see the light.


Why Italians love Belgian beer © BeerTourism.com


Quality is paramount

“Don’t be mistaken,” Jef Van den Steen warns us. “Italians are very discerning customers. They demand quality. If your beer doesn’t meet their standards, don’t even try!”

Italians are also keen to hear the story behind the brewery and the beer and they want to meet the brewer. “My brewery, De Glazen Toren, is invited every year to attend Villagio de la Birra in Tuscany in early September,” Jef says.

“This beer festival encourages brewers to introduce their beer and respond to questions posed by consumers. I think this is a brilliant initiative as it allows us to find out what international consumers think about our beers.”

Belgian beer could be the perfect complement to La Dolce Vita.


Recent Blog Posts

Omer Vander Ghinste celebrates 125 years of brewing craftsmanship
KORTRIJK/BELLEGEM - It was in 1892 that Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste opened for business in Bellegem, a village near Kortrijk in West Flanders, close to the French border. Since then, ... [ read more ]
Brasserie de Brunehaut - In tune with the seasons
RONGY - In Rongy and all around it, spring is in the air. The fruit trees are in bloom and nature has put on its most beautiful face. I’m on my way to Brasserie de Brunehaut, a brewery surrounded by o ... [ read more ]
Westmalle Dubbel or Westmalle Tripel?
WESTMALLE - If you order a Westmalle you’re likely to be served with a Tripel. This is no coincidence as this strong blonde Trappist beer now accounts for 75% of the beer output of this abbey brewery. ... [ read more ]
Amburon Belgian Craftbrewery - A new brewery in Belgium’s oldest city
TONGEREN - After a fifty-year wait the moment has finally arrived. Once again, the city of Tongeren can boast its own brewery and city beers. The story commences with the 2009 ... [ read more ]
Luc De Laet, the brewer's butcher...
ANTWERP - Why would a butcher open a store at a brewery? The question doesn’t throw Luc De Laet, the man who has done just that at the De Koninck brewery. “We share our respect for traditional crafts, ... [ read more ]

Comments


You must be logged in to leave a comment


SHARE:
 



BLOG

POSTS
Bush beer pairing at Le Château du Mylord

ELLEZELLES - As many as 34 years ago Jean-Baptiste Thomaes, at the ripe young age of 22, set up the prestigious establishment of Le Château du Mylord in Ellezelles, a village close to Ronse and Oudenaarde. ... [ more ]

Belgian Beer Experts: Jef Van den Steen

ERPE-MERE - He is an author, beer guru, brewer and taster, but first and foremost an educator. Teaching is in Jef Van den Steen’s blood, he was once a maths teacher.... Jef has an explanation ... [ more ]

Holiday beer and cheese pairing with Dubuisson

PIPAIX/MECHELEN - We all know that beer and cheese are made for one another, and to illustrate this Brasserie Dubuisson gathered a panel of beer and cheese experts to discover the best pairings. ... [ more ]

Ipa_green_killer_225

More Beer

Brasserie de Silly enjoys a reputation as a traditional family brewery producing honest Belgian specialty beers - the Scotch de Silly or La Divine for example. However, this br... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.

Name:
Email:
TWITTER
    FACEBOOK