While Italy heavily regulates its wine industry, its brewers have a greater degree of freedom for experimentation. As such, Italian beers contain a wide variety of interesting local ingredients, including spelt, grapes, and chestnuts. The latter, a sweet specialty of the Tuscany and Piedmont regions, makes for nutty, earthy ales and lagers.
In a style known as birra alle castagne (“chestnut beer”), brewers use chestnuts in various forms: smoked, roasted, dried, and even as honey from the chestnut tree. The resulting beers are silky and slightly thick, with subtle roasted, smoky flavors.
Chestnut beers tend to appear in the autumn. As such, they pair particularly well with cool-weather cuisine such as hearty stews.
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Where to Try It
Il Birrificio di ComoVia Pasquale Paoli, 3 , Como, 22100, Italy
This brewery's Malthus Birolla is made with roasted chestnuts and honey harvested from chestnut trees. Check to make sure it's available before visiting.
Birrificio TrollVia Valle Grande 15 , Vernante, 12019, Italy
Their chestnut-enhanced Palanfrina ale packs some heft (9 percent ABV) and appears every fall, from September through December.