Despite having a seriously strong reputation for producing some of, if not the finest wines in the world, Italy also produces a huge range of high-quality, crisp, refreshing beers. While not many people put Italy and beer in the same bracket, a lot of the most popular beers in the world are Italian.
If you consider yourself a big beer drinker, you’ll already know that popular beers such as Birra Moretti, Peroni, and Nastro Azzurro are all Italian.
However, there are so many more to choose from and so much more to learn about Italian beer culture. So much so that we have put together a guide looking at Italian beer. In this guide, we look at what makes it so special, how much beer Italy makes, and how Italian beer tastes.
We will show you all of this by taking you on a journey through the top 15 Italian beers you have to try.
If you’re looking for a new beer to try, or simply want to learn more about Italian beers, be sure to stick around!
The Top 15 Italian Beers To Try
Now we have a better understanding of Italian beer, let’s take a closer look at the beers you have to try.
Whether you’re looking for something new and unique to try, or something a little more classical and traditional, you’ll find a beer here that you will love. We’ll give you a short rundown on each beer so that you know exactly what to expect.
OUR TOP PICK
We simply can’t start our list of must-try Italian beers without talking about Peroni. As you already know, Peroni is the most popular Italian beer produced.
While the brand offers a wide range of great tasting beers, the most popular beer they produce is their pale lager that goes by the name Nastro Azzurro.
Particularly enjoyed across Italy and the United States, Peroni offers simplistic, yet refreshing tasting beer that is made following family traditions that date back to 1846.
While it is seen as an accessible beer, for many, Peroni is a posh beer that comes with a clean, sophisticated, and crisp finish.
First distributed worldwide in 1990, Peroni’s beer is made using a unique blend of high-quality ingredients.
Considered the best Italian beer on offer, this beer is made with a blend of Italian maize, two-row, spring-planted barley, and water.
You can buy Peroni’s Nastro Azzuro on Amazon.com.
To mark its 150th anniversary as a brewery, in 1996, Peroni blessed us with its Gran Riserva. Brewed in Rome, the Gran Riserva beer is made using Saaz hops and Prisma Barley malt. After 8 weeks of brewing, the beer is ready to enjoy.
In terms of taste, this refreshing beer is a sweet, yet also slightly acidic concoction that leaves caramel and toffee notes on your taste buds.
While this beer was always going to be popular, as it is made from Peroni, the favorable 5.1% alcohol content also helps.
Another neat touch with this beer is that it is served in a unique wine-like bottle instead of Peroni’s traditional beer bottles.
Birra Moretti is another extremely popular Italian beer brand. This award-winning brand, like Peroni, is considered to be one of the best and most popular beers in not just Italy, but the world.
The company was founded in 1859 by Luigi Moretti, who first called his brand ‘beer and ice factory’.
Birra Moretti’s most popular beer is a lager called L’Auntenica. A traditional lager, you simply have to try this beer if you get the chance.
Offering distinctive hops and a signature aroma, Moretti makes this beer using an authentic, traditional approach.
The result is a well-balanced, aromatic bitter taste that is very drinkable. A very versatile beer, high-quality malts help provide a lush golden hue.
If you’re seeking an authentic, unique beer, this could be the perfect choice for you.
Birra Moretti also produces their own wonderful take on doppelbock with a delightful full-bodied beer called La Rossa. La Rossa is well worth a try for its soft fragrance and bitter aftertaste that the hops provide.
Made with caramelized malt flavors, you can expect the beer to hold a very bold roasted aroma. Another great point to mention regarding Birra Moretti beer is its color. La Rossa has a unique amber color. This color originates from the 100% high-quality barley malt used to make the beer.
You can buy Birra Moretti’s La Rossa beer here!
Birra del Borgo is relatively new to the Italian beer scene, only opening its first brewery in 2005. The brewery can be found in Borgorose which is an area of Italy known for its thick forests, tall mountains, and picturesque lakes.
This area was chosen by Birra del Borgo because they strive to connect their beer to the natural world by using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.
They also work with local vineyards, businesses, and farmers. An impressive 80% of the brand's malts are sourced from their local Italian region.
Known for classic, ‘bizarre’, and seasonal beers, Birra del Borgo’s most popular beer is their classic lager.
Labeled as Lisa, Birra del Borgo’s classic golden lager, is beautifully crispy, coming with elegant aromas. To top this beer off, honey is added to help balance the bitter, dry finish.
Beautifully fresh and light, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Lisa.You can buy this classic lager from Birra del Borgo’s online store.
Birra del Borgo’s other popular lager is My Antonia. My Antonia is unlike any other Italian lager as it dares to combine both Italian and American beers. This is done by using both American and European hops.
Perfectly paired with red meat, this beer blends explosive alcoholic flavors with only the very best dry hops.
If you’re looking to try a more unique Italian beer, this revolutionary beer is perfect. It does an amazing job at renewing the Pilsner styles in an intense, full-bodied beer.
Another great Italian beer on offer from Birra del Borgo is ReAle. This absolute classic is actually the first beer Birra del Borgo ever brewed. With its roots firmly in Borgorose, this beer follows the traditions of English India Pale Ale.
With this beer, you can expect an intense American hops scent, divine citrusy notes, and a unique, yet wonderfully intense peppery flavor.
And, with ReAle and its lovely amber color, Birra del Borgo has done an amazing job at combining the styles of English ales with those of Italy. The end result is a beer that gives new life and an exciting new taste.
Birra del Borgo’s ReAle can be purchased on their online store.
We’re not finished with Birra del Borgo just yet, as we haven’t mentioned their amazing seasonal beers.
Offering a whole range dedicated to seasonal beers, Birra del Borgo produces ales and buckwheat classics that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
With festive notes of raisin, honey, nuts, and orange peel, probably the best of these seasonal beers is their Italian Christmas Ale.
Known by the name 25 Twelve in reference to Christmas day, no traditional Italian brewing methods are used to produce this beer.
Instead, Birra del Borgo uses Belgian brewing tradition to make this beer. Having said that, a renewed, more modern recipe is used.
Drinking this beer creates a new way to celebrate while recalling all the sweet ingredients of Christmas in the process.
You can expect a current, caramel flavor with a bitter finish from this beer.
While Birra del Borgo is famed for its classic beers and real ales, they also show they're not scared to try something new and crazy with the production of Bizarre beers.
Taking inspiration from a whole host of interesting and quite frankly crazy places, Borgo has made some super interesting, quite wild beers.
One of the best Bizarre beers has to be their CaOs beer. This beer takes traditions and techniques historically used to make wine and uses them to produce a truly one-of-a-kind beer.
A deep golden color, this Italian grape ale has the unique fragrance of apricot and musk. These fragrances are accompanied by soft fruity aromas and refreshing acidic white berries.
This beer is a real Italian masterpiece if you like trying something unique.
The next Italian beer in our guide that you have to try is Forst’s Premium Lager. Forst has been producing Italian beer since 1857 when they were first founded in the Italian Alps.
Since then, this family-run business has become one of the most well-recognized brands when it comes to producing high-quality Italian beer.
The brand's biggest seller is its Premium Lager. Forst’s Premium Lager is an Italian classic. A refreshing beverage, this beer balances the presence of malt and hops perfectly, giving us a divine aromatic finish too.
A pale golden color and present carbonation, make the beer very easy to drink and also very versatile.
You can buy Premium Lager on Forst’s website.
Those of you who prefer a darker beer will much prefer Forst’s Sixtus Doppelbock beer. Forst’s Sixtus Doppelbock beer offers the perfect combination of strong malt flavors and delightfully warm toast spices and caramel notes.
First made in 1901, the captivating flavors of this beer will have you closing your eyes in an attempt to savor every drop. To produce this beer, Forst uses a special fermentation process that works wonders when it comes to capturing every flavor.
As a result of this fermentation process, we are treated to a fantastically harmonious bock beer that provides us with authentic Starkbier and artisan recollections.
With V.I.P Pils, Forst has made a beautifully elegant beer that you are sure to enjoy. Offering a refined experience, this beer is fresh, dry, and smooth on the palate.
In terms of production, this Pils is made from high-quality pilsner malt, aromatic hops, and fresh spring water.
To then make the beer taste so good and elegant, the ingredients are put through a special aging process that makes a lovely aroma of hops and grains, and a dense foam that tastes refreshing in every sip.
Forst’s V.I.P Pils can also be purchased on the Forst website.
Menabrea is fast becoming one of the biggest, most-well-loved beer brands in Italy. With a brewery well and truly rooted in tradition, Menabrea takes a traditional approach to produce top-quality Italian beer.
Honoring both Italian heritage and tradition to make their beer, unlike Birra del Borgo, Menabrea has a stronger desire to make simplistic, yet divine classic lagers.
First brewing beer in 1846, this beer brand is most recognized for its Bionda Lager. Winner of three gold medals at the Beer World Championships, Bionda Lager is made from Menebrea’s unique bottom-fermenting yeast.
Locally sourced mountain water from the Italian Alps is also used. To give the beer a light, sweet taste and a bright hue, Hallertau Magnum hop, maize, and barley malt are combined.
This sweetness is then wonderfully combined with hop bitterness.
Buy yourself some Bionda Lager at Drizzly.com.
Menabrea’s Ambrata Lager shouldn’t be overlooked either. This lager is actually one of Menabrea’s biggest sellers across America.
An amber-colored lager, this beer features a complex aroma, substantial body, and roasted barley malt.
The addition of extra alcohol is what makes the beer more complex, and the delicious caramel and toffee flavors are what makes the beer so inviting and drinkable.
With a slight hint of bitterness too, this lager is perfect for those hot days in the sun with family and friends.
You can buy Ambrata Lager at Drizzly.com.
Birra Montegioco is only a small microbrewery found in Piedmont. Despite only being a small brewery, the brand's specialty beers and real ales have found a way onto the international market.
While the brand sells a wide range of interesting sour ales and wines, the beer to look out for is their Quarta Runa.
Brewed using the unique aroma of locally baked peaches, this beer has an alcohol percentage of 7%, a notable flavor, and undeniable notes of baked fruits and warm spices.
As a result of these wonderful notes, it comes as no surprise that this beer is most commonly paired with camembert cheese and slices of pie.
You can buy a bottle of Quarta Runa from Birra Montegioco’s website.
How Popular Is Beer In Italy?
As we mentioned briefly above, there is a common misconception when it comes to Italy and drinking beer. Due to the popularity and fame of Italy’s fine wines, a lot of people don’t actually realize just how popular Italian beers are too.
In fact, Italian beer is extremely popular in Italy, not just around the world. While on average, Italians drink 0.1L of wine every day, beer culture is still very popular.
In Italian culture, lagers are especially popular. Widely consumed across Italy, we can see the increase in popularity beer has had in recent figures.
In 2010, the average Italian drank 28.6 liters of beer a year. Recent studies in 2019 have shown that this average figure now sits at 34.6 liters.
The reason for this growth is down to an increased amount of options, a boost in beer culture, and, of course, more awareness of the best beers.
How Much Beer Is Made In Italy?
To give you a good idea of just how much beer is made in Italy, let us show you the results from the most recent firm data findings. Generally speaking, Italy produces between 15 and 17 million hectoliters of delicious beer every year.
However, the last year we have data for is 2019. In 2019, 17.27 million hectoliters of beer were produced, which happened to be the most the country has ever produced.
Bearing in mind this figure is from 2019, it is fair to assume that this production has since exceeded that figure.
This just goes to show how popular Italian beer has become.
What Makes Italian Beers So Special?
Most countries claim to have the best beers, but we have to say, Italy might be up there with the very best. From beautifully unique flavors and interesting makers, Italian beer is special for a wide range of reasons.
Obviously, the main reason people come back to Italian beer is a result of its taste. Italian beers are more often than not, very refreshing, light, clean, and flavorful. That’s not all that makes Italian beer so special though.
A lot of people love the intriguing stories and history behind each beer maker. With so many of Italy’s beer makers being founded in the 1850s or there and thereabout, they have rich histories to tell, and people love it. This is why people keep coming back.
How Do Italian Beers Taste?
If you’ve never tried an Italian beer before, you’re really missing out. Italian beer, like beers from most countries, comes in a variety of different flavors and styles. In Italy, Italian lagers are the most popular choice.
Italian lagers, like a lot of other general types of Italian beer, are known for their fruity taste with notable concentrations of malt and hops.
You may find other lagers around the world that taste similar to Italian beers, but you won’t find one that is fermented the same way. Italian beers are usually fermented at much higher temperatures.
As a result of these higher fermentation temperatures, the fruitier flavors come to the forefront more. This process helps to produce fruity, very drinkable, well-balanced beers enjoyed by millions.
What Is The Most Popular Italian Beer?
As Italian beer is known for its fruity flavors, it is no surprise that these types of beers are the most popular. Having said that, Italian beers have also played around with ales. These ales tend to be expressive and very intense.
When it comes down to popularity and big names, the most popular Italian beer is Peroni. Peroni is so popular not just in Italy, but around the world. In fact, it is ranked as the 15th most well-known beer in the world and the 7th best-selling beer.
Other hugely popular Italian beer brands include Birra Moretti, Nastro Azzuro, Menabrea, and Angelo Poretti.
Why Is Peroni So Popular?
Peroni is extremely popular because of its wonderful taste and sophistication. Peroni is seen as a posh beer. In fact, in the United Kingdom, the beer earned distinction for being the poshest beer on sale.
As a result of this supposed poshness, Peroni is considered sophisticated, divine, dignified, and clean.
Of course, like any product, Peroni is also very popular because the brand has done such a good job at building a solid reputation, great beer, and a loyal customer base. Without those things, no beer could grow in popularity.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The World’s Best Selling Beer?
The best-selling beer across the world is Bud Light. In the US alone, over 27 million barrels of Bud Light are sold every year.
Which Italian Beer Is The Most Popular?
Peroni is the most popular and biggest-selling Italian beer. In fact, studies have shown that Peroni is so popular that it is the 15th most well-known beer in the world and also the 7th biggest seller around the world.
Which Italian Beer Should I Try First?
Which Italian beer you choose to try first will ultimately depend on what you like most. However, we can make some recommendations.
In our opinion, if you haven’t tried a Peroni or Birra Moretti, these should be your go-to’s as they are Italy’s two most popular beers.
If you have tried these beers and want something unique, you should definitely check out one of Birra del Borgo’s beers first.
Most beer drinkers have heard of Peroni and Birra Moretti, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more on offer.
Finding the best Italian beer takes time, but having read our guide you should have a much better idea of what’s out there.
In this article we have shown you everything you need to know about Italian beers, giving you a much greater knowledge regarding what to expect.
Now you have our guide at your disposal and a solid list of Italian beers to try, why not make your first order of beers, so you can see which ones you like best. We are sure no matter which beer you choose from this guide, you’ll be happy with what you get to try.