This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
Craft Beer in Italy
If you’re looking for a craft beer guide for travels to Italy, you’ve come to the right place! Italy definitely isn’t your number one country or location you’d think of enjoying beer in. Wine, of course but not necessarily beer. There are so many different wineries so it’s only natural that beer isn’t as popular in Italy. Although we like to sample both, this article is dedicated to only craft beer locations within Italy. Throughout our trip of two weeks in Italy, we had some amazing craft beer which I was very pleasantly surprised by.
Craft Beer in Europe
Much like the United States and the Brewers Association there, Europe has a similar association called the Brewers of Europe. The Brewers of Europe is based in Brussels (naturally, right?!). On the Brewers of Europe website, there is a great resource (by country) as to the specific countries brewing association as well. In Italy it’s the AssoBirra.
Italian words to know for drinking Craft Beer
Birre = Beer/Beers
Bottiglia = Bottle
Alla Spina = on tap
Birra Artigianale = Craft Beer
Birrifico = Brewery
This is helpful as we saw these terms on tap lists or posted in craft beer bars several places in Italy. It was somewhat easy to figure out after awhile, but why be confused if you don’t have to be! But more important, lets get to the beer.
Italian Craft Beer
While in Italy, drink as the locals do! Throughout travels no matter where you are, trying local craft beer is a must. It’s interesting to see how different beer styles across Europe have different characteristics and flavor compared to in the United States. One thing that both myself and my husband agreed upon is that the IPA’s (India Pale Ale’s) in Italy tasted a lot sweeter. Not bitter like many of the United States IPA’s are known for. (He absolutely loves an IPA that kicks you in the teeth with hops and is incredibly bitter!) Whereas, I prefer the sweeter IPA’s so I was a huge fan of the IPA’s in Italy.
However, there are much more European styles available (that are amazing!) such as Tripel’s or Bocks. These in the United States aren’t as good and are few and far between to even find unless they’re imported from Europe.
Read on within this guide for amazing beer bars we loved throughout our trip and some additional recommendations for a great craft brew in Italy. Cheers!
Craft Beer in Venice, Italy
Located in a less touristy corner of Venice, this is a local gem! Offering a wide variety of beers with seating along the canal. It was the perfect end to the day to have a few brews and watch boats drive by along the canal. We did notice there were many locals here for bachelor & bachelorette parties. But, it was also a Saturday night.
The bartender/beertender didn’t speak much English so that’s when you really know you’re at a local gem. We just blundered with our attempt at Italian and pointed to the beers we wanted after surveying the goods in the glass cases.
We really enjoyed our time at this pub. Not only were the options for tap beers & bottles extensive they also offered delicious cicchetti options. Cicchetti is a part of Venetian culture. You can compare it to Spanish tapas. Typically it’s a small bite or snack that you will eat alongside an apertivo or happy hour beverage.
Another great thing about Il Santo Bevitore was talking to the beertender on staff. She asked us where we were from and talked extensively with us about beer and beer we liked. As we talked more about craft beer she provided some recommendations. Unfortunately we weren’t able to actually go to any of them. But, I am definitely interested in doing so in the future. Local recommendations in my opinion are the best!
The recommendations she offered are a little outside of Venice proper but, if you’re in transit they’re definitely worth mentioning.
The three recommendations she provided are listed below:
CRAK brewery which the taproom is actually located outside of Venice in Campodarsego.
Lucky Brews is a brewpub located almost an hour outside of the city of Venice in Vicenza. Actually somewhat closer to Verona. (But kind of in between Venice and Verona.) So, if you’re enroute to Verona it would be a great place to stop.
Ophelia is also located in Vicenza. So, maybe hop to Lucky Brews and Ophelia for a fun afternoon or evening? I know it’s on my radar for a return trip because we’re definitely going back to Italy.
Check out places to stay when you’re in Venice here.
Craft Beer in the Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre compared to the other cities we visited really didn’t have as many options for craft beer. But we were extremely lucky that a great craft beer bar was literally right outside of the door from where we stayed in Riomaggiore. There were also a few little wine/bottle shops that carried some bottles of beer as well from the breweries I mention below.
Although technically not located within the Cinque Terre (5 villages along the coast.) In La Spezia which is about 12 km and a 20-25 minute car ride or quick train ride from Riomaggiore then a short walk from the station in La Spezia there are two breweries located close to each other. La Spezia Brewing Company & Birrifico Golfo. We had some of the Birrifico Golfo Beers at Bar Netto in Riomaggiore.
This was just literally right outside our doorstep while we stayed here in Riomaggiore.
In all honesty, I didn’t have much on my radar for Florence. Before arriving, I did research on beer bars or breweries and only had a few on my radar (Archea Brewery & BrewDog.) We actually didn’t end up going to either of them! Brew Dog has many locations so we decided to skip that one. It also stated on Google that it was closed. However, we were very happy with the more local craft beer pubs we went to listed below.
We found this beer pub through a quick google search and it was a great pick as almost all of the beers on tap were Italian. It was also one of our first stops in Florence after a travel day and partial day in Pisa. So, it was a perfect place to relax and have a few pints. We arrived at what I would consider a reasonable happy hour time but by the time we were leaving the locals were arriving and the bar was getting busier.
This literally was a place we stumbled upon. It’s outside of the more touristy area of Florence and it was near our hotel. After walking by several times, the last night we were there we popped in for a pint. They had a lot of different Italian Beers both in bottles & cans as well as on tap.
I opted for a tiramisu imperial stout that was absolutely delicious! After being in Italy for a bit and having some amazing tiramisu & tiramisu gelato I definitely had to try the beer. The brewery that makes this beer Lambrate is actually based out of Milan. We didn’t visit Milan during our time in Italy but you can bet after that amazing brew it’s definitely on my to do list for next time!
This bar definitely was more of a locals bar and I love going to places like this while traveling. We stayed a bit outside of the action while in Florence, we stayed here. This beer bar was literally just across the street and a great find to stumble across.
Craft Beer in Rome, Italy
Being the capital of Italy and one of the larger cities in Europe, I wasn’t surprised that Rome definitely had more places offering craft beer in Italy. I could have just visited beer bars during our whole time in Rome and not make it to them all. However, below are the ones we sought out and experienced.
This pub is somewhat close to the Vatican. It boasts 20 taps and also offers food and other bar drinks as well. It was the perfect place to relax after visiting Vatican City for the day at St. Marks Basilica for a happy hour drink or as the Italians say apertivo.
This was the first brewery/brew pub that we visited in Rome mostly just due to proximity to our hotel. Open Baladin is located in the Campo Fiori area of Rome.
They had a wide selection of beers available on tap as well as a shop inside that was selling beer in bottles for take away. They had quite the selection and even offered a food menu. We had arrived close to when they opened but as we hung out for awhile the place was packed by the time we left with fellow travelers and locals alike.
This was my favorite beer bar we visited in Rome. Nothing fancy (the beer list was denoted with masking tape & sharpie!) but a fantastic tap beer list. We sat outside and enjoyed a handful of great beers. The crowd was a great mix of tourists & travelers as well as locals. Located in the Trastevere area of Rome giving it much more of a homey and chill vibe.
Out of all of the beer bars we visited, this one probably I was the most disappointed with. I considered omitting it from my Italy craft beer guide altogether. It just really wasn’t what I was expecting at all. In all honesty it was a major let down. Online I had researched that they had 40 some taps, but the actual list once we got there was much less. Another thing and this may have been because of the pandemic but I was expecting a happy hour food with small bites on a conveyor belt. (Much like sushi restaurants.) The beer we had, however was good so at least that wasn’t a disappointment!
I had heard a lot about this beer bar through recommendations and fellow craft beer girls that share my love of beer (and travel!) how unique it was and that it was a must stop in Rome. We were really excited to check it out. But, unfortunately once we got there we realized it had closed & there were for sale signs on the outside. Insert sad face emoji here.
Rome is so huge! Depending on what you want to do and how long you’re there should help you to decide where to stay. We stayed near Piazza Navona & Campo Fiori. It was a really great central location. (It even had an elevator and the best air conditioning!) While in Rome we stayed here.
Read more about traveling & craft beer:
Throughout our travels abroad, in the United States & even while home I’m always seeking the best craft beer. If you enjoyed this Italy craft beer guide here are some more beer focused articles. Read more about my favorite beer experiences while traveling and about the best breweries while at home in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.