Buona Birra: BrewDog Firenze

brewdog facade My husband and I recently went to Florence, Italy on our belated honeymoon (since it was a year after we got married, we jokingly called it our Honeyversary). A big part of our relationship is a shared love of Italian food and culture. Another shared love is craft beer. So, we definitely made it a point to combine the two during our trip.

While researching potential beer spots, we discovered that BrewDog, a Scottish brewery, has a brewpub in Florence. BrewDog is a brewery whose beers I see a little bit of stateside, but not very often; and no brewpubs (as of yet). So even though it isn’t an Italian brewing company or brewpub, we both agreed that visiting one of their pubs would be a real treat. We weren’t disappointed.

We visited BrewDog Firenze on the 4th day of our trip. All week, we had been taking in the ancient architecture, beautiful museums, stunning churches, and rolling hills in Tuscany — not to mention drinking lots of delicious vino. So walking into BrewDog Firenze provided a slightly different atmosphere — graffiti-style artwork, rock music blaring on the stereo, and many beers from all over the world on draft and in bottles (on a side note, I was pleasantly surprised to see a beer local to us on draft, a selection from Flying Dog). It was certainly a contrast to what we’d been experiencing all week, but it was just as enjoyable.

Not exactly what you'd find in the Uffizi Gallery.
Not exactly what you’d find in the Uffizi Gallery.

The beer matched the atmosphere and did not disappoint. We each got a flight, and the sample sizes were quite generous — I’m estimating about 4.5 to 5 ounces each, as opposed to the average 4. I sampled the following:

Left: 5 AM Red Ale. Right: Libertine Black Ale.
Left: 5 AM Red Ale. Right: Libertine Black Ale.
IMG_0163Left: Hello My Name is Holy Moose American IPA. Right: Dead Pony Club Session IPA.
Left: Hello My Name is Holy Moose American IPA. Right: Dead Pony Club Session IPA.

1) Five AM Red Ale — this is your average red ale, but very good. It was a touch hoppy, slightly bitter, and delicately sweet. A good starter if you’re sampling many beers.

2) Dead Pony Club Session IPA — this was a true session, clocking in at 3.8%. I was struck by how savory it was. In addition to the expected citrus flavors, it had undertones of pine and, surprisingly, sage. I liked this one a lot.

3) Hello My Name is Holy Moose American IPA — this was a beer I needed to look up to see what it was, as the style wasn’t listed on the menu and the unique flavor made it hard to pinpoint. I got light hop bitterness, but I mostly got a lot of tart fruit, especially cherries. I discovered later that this was an IPA brewed with tart berries — good call, tastebuds! This was a tasty IPA, and the funny name made it all the better.

4) Libertine Black Ale — this was my favorite of the four. It’s listed as a black IPA, but you get more of the rich, roasty, chocolatey flavors of a dark ale. I believe I’ve seen this one stateside, so I hope to sip some again soon.

In addition to the large selection of BrewDog offerings, there were several guest drafts and bottles. I saw that an Italian brewery, Birrifico Pontino, had a pumpkin beer available. I couldn’t resist trying a pumpkin beer from a non-American brewery. It’s called Orange Poison and it was very good. It had a clear orange hue and a wonderful cinnamon flavor.

IMG_0168

After those two rounds, we called it a day. I am glad we decided to try and find BrewDog Firenze, as it provided an excellent beer element to our wonderful honeymoon. Whenever BrewDog opens its doors stateside, we will be visiting!

Bonus beer: the next day, we visited a small, local brewpub called Mostodolce, located a few blocks from Florence’s central market. They had six of their own beers on draft. I had a kolsch that was a pleasant blend of hoppy and crispy, while my husband had a really delicious honey amber ale. In addition to the beer, I recommend going for the decor — the walls are covered with sketches from patrons (including one from yours truly), and some of the tables had sketches laminated onto their surfaces. It was also a small pub, tucked away from the hubbub of the Duomo or the Piazza del Signioria; and a welcome reprieve from the crowds.

Two of my favorite things: good beer and great skull illustrations.
Two of my favorite things: good beer and great skull illustrations.

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