Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last Italy stop: Birra Udine

   Way up in Italy's northeast corner sits a region called Friuli-Venezia-Giulia (mercifully shortened to FVG by almost everyone), bordering Austria on the north and Slovenia to the east.   Trieste is the largest and best-known city while Udine, in the center, is a pretty town with a fine brewing tradition.  Moretti started out here before moving to Milan and becoming huge.  The tradition has been revived by the brewpub  Birrificio Udinese, located in one of the few modern buildings in the old town center.
If you follow the link, note that the address ends simply as ""  "Bire", a cross between Italian birra and German bier, is in the Friulian language, an Italo-Germanic-Slavic mixture that is unique enough to be considered a distinct language rather than a regional dialect.
     Inside, the Udine pub has some interesting design features.  One wall has glass panels through which the various barley grains used in brewing are displayed.
   I tried a mug of their red double malt while sitting at bar stool #24 and surveying the brew kettles.  Here, as is often the case in Italy, the customer pays the cashier first and then receives the product; the tables and stools are each numbered for the server's benefit.
Note the copper bar, which is a nice design touch to integrate with some of the brewing apparatus. Here is another copper serving space in front of some of the fermentation tanks.
They claim the copper bar is a central European tradition, which would make Udine a nice threshold for visiting the great beer sites of the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, etc.
(Visited Oct. 4, 2011)