Menabrea Birra: Birra Menabrea SpA: Pale Lager
Almost every workday, my commute by scooter takes me past the Italian consulate on 69th Street and Park Avenue. On any given morning, particularly in late spring, there’s a small line of would-be tourists waiting patiently to attend to the bureaucratic requirements for obtaining a visa. Not one of them, I suspect, is dreaming of an Italian vacation because they are eager to check out the local beer options. I’ve heard whispers that the Italian government operates a vinotecha, a library where one can literally check out wines. But I’d be damned surprised if there was an equivalent place for beer in Italy.
But surprise is the name for this whole experiment and there have been a few, as last night’s Baladin Super demonstrates, breaking into the upper echelons of beer excellence. If your tastes in Italian beers is more likely shaped by that occasional Moretti when its too hot to have wine with your gnocchi, then Menabrea will be no suprise for you. It’s Moretti without the quaint guy with the mustache drinking on the label. It’s Moretti without that fun sound you make when you try to order it while trying sound sophisticated and European. It’s Moretti, slightly skunky and whisper-thin in flavor.