Thursday, June 12, 2014

Italy Beer Country: A Story of Italian Craft Beer by Bryan Jansing and Paul Vismara

Italy Beer Country is a book about the Italian craft beer evolution. Italy is a country where every region has its own wine and is steeped with centuries old tradition and prejudice. What I mean by prejudice is that to the Italian, beer is paired with pizza and wine is what you drink with everything else.  You notice the class system there? So to the Italian beer enthusiasts, it was a long journey to be able to brew or drink Italian beer.

This book details the beginning of the Italian craft beer boom. Italy hasn't ever had to deal with breweries so these pioneers were breaking new ground. Italy Beer Country starts at the beginning of the craft beer scene with interviews from these men who started the Italian craft beer.

The authors of the book both work at ground zero of the craft beer scene in Denver, The Falling Rock Tap House. Bryan Jansing, is an accomplished writer began his beer enthusiasm in Cincinnati, Ohio where his father drank good German-style lagers and quality beers.  He moved to Vicenza, Italy in his early teens. Vincenza is on the Austrian border so he discovered beer from there and Germany. In 2012, Bryan was excited when he found Italian beer on tap at a pizzeria, Bir e Fud, in the district of Trastevere, Rome.

Paul Vismara who has a 25 year career as an artist is the books illustrator. He has traveled through Italy and speaks Italian fluently. Brian calls Paul a true beer nerd. In the late 1980's when craft beer was in it's infancy, Paul would go to bars and look for certain names like Sierra Nevada or Anchor Brewing, at that time it was difficult to find good beers on tap.
Bryan Jansing and Paul Vismara.

It was at the end of summer in 2012 that the idea of a book about Italian beers was being born. With help from Chris Black, owner of the Falling Rock Tap House they got a contact with someone the craft beer industry.  Chris Black suggested they talked to Eric Wallace, founder of Left Hand Brewing who has traveled Italy extensively, speaks fluent Italian, and is married to an Italian. He was able to give them contacts in Italy. After their trip to Italy's beer country this book was able to be published through a Kickstarter project.

The Italy Beer Country is available through in paperback.

I really enjoyed reading about the Italy craft movement from the start in 1996 to present day. The writing is easy to read and it follows in a way chronicology. The movement was an epiphany of the founding fathers at relatively the same time. The two guys who collaborated on the book are very knowledgeable about the beer scene, locally and aboard.  I think there could have been more photos in the book and some better quality but overall I recommend this book to anyone who travels and likes drinking beer. When I was in Rome in 2003, I wish I had this book or that the internet had more content articles. My husband looked high and low for a beer bar and I think the locals were oblivious of the movement at the time. There is a market for this book.

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