Well, the title is not the most elegant. I know, I admit it. But on Saturday night my balls were spinning with a rotating motion the envy of the solar system. Laura & Andrea called me to go to 'Mastro Birraio - Fiera della Birra artigianale', 2nd edition, in Forlì. Animated, besides the pleasure of their company, to taste some good craft beers, I accept with enthusiasm. Well, it was my fault too... I don't know... the title 'Craft Beer Fair' had projected in my head a series of exhibitors of breweries presenting their products... a small Vinitaly of beer, so to speak. Note in the following photo Andrea's sly expression... after all, if he's not blissful among women, he is... as always!


When I read on their website 'Entrance €3' I naively thought that the tastings were charged at a symbolic price each, but some of the wheels had already been turned in me: I preferred to read I don't know 20-30 € and take it for granted that they were included... but this too passes and I don't even begin to expect the worst! I also get a little suspicious when I read the time: 7pm to 2.30am ... how can you be lucid enough to taste at that hour? And then they don't really seem like suitable working hours to me ... these questions also add up to: "Why do it on weekend evenings and not between weeks ... maybe in the afternoon ... that there is less confusion?" Ah, the disturbing answers would come all at once!

I quote the official website:

The large trade fair specifically for craft beer, covering 6,000 square metres, returns to the Forlì Exhibition Centre. 
In the halls of Fiera Forlì, on Friday 27, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 March 2015, hundreds of beers presented directly by their brewers can be tasted. 
In the vast areas set up there will be the opportunity to taste delicious gourmet products of excellence. 
Various tasting courses with leading Italian experts, to learn the best pairings, and homebrewed meetings to learn the 'home' production of this ancient beverage.
Manufacturers of craft brewing equipment will also be present. 

Now tell me, don't you expect lots of nice manufacturers and equipment exhibitors, some quality food stands and the like? Blessed innocence!

We arrive in Forli by 10 p.m., after the car park we get our tickets... and already the subjects we see are not the best. But when we go through the gates we're in for a shock: a village party gone wrong, with tunza music at such a high volume that we can hardly speak. But... is this a joke?


Chaos, chaos everywhere. Drunk people dressed in safety pins holding pieces of clothing together, screaming... the first temptation is to run away, but hunger forces us to stop. We take a look at the stands: the gastronomic delicacies are the usual ones present at all fairs and, as everywhere, they have very high prices compared to the quality served. We go to the Chianina hamburger stand (who has probably never seen Chianina...) and for 10 € we get a sandwich with: 1 hamburger of passable quality, 1 thin slice of tomato, 2 thin slices of onion, 1 very thin slice of cheese and at least 1 kg of mustard. I love mustard, but I swear there was so much of it that it was only possible to eat the sandwich after dabbing the excess with a paper towel... and it was still almost unbearable (consider that it wasn't great quality mustard).


After the amazing sandwich it was the turn of 11 arrosticini... so salty that the salt beer de La Cotta we thought it was too sweet! Speaking of this brewery: we liked the two beers on offer, the amber and the red one! Very drinkable, fresh and not particularly flavoursome, they are the classic beers that on a restaurant's menu, to be kept on tap, are perfect because they raise the quality compared to industrial beers and potentially please everyone!

The dismay continued during our brief tour of discovery: more than a craft beer fair of a fair authority, it looked like the commercial beer festival of small provincial towns! But seriously... who organises this 'thing'? From the official website of the Ente Fiera di Forlì it seems that Estrela organises it, I tried looking at their website and realised that it is not surprising that this is the result if that is how much effort they put into promoting their image. Be that as it may, the real problem is not the event itself, but the mockery behind it: if they called it 'Alternative Beer Festival, let's all shack up together' it would have been the perfect evening, which I would have voluntarily chosen not to attend. But if they call it 'Craft Beer Fair' one expects something else entirely, and this name undoubtedly misleads! The Forlì Beer Fair is a shanty organised to gather drunks of all kinds and speculate on them.


The only positive note was having tasted the beers of La ButtigaExtraordinary as always! Too bad I suggested to Laura & Andrea that we start with them and then we couldn't fully appreciate the other breweries present... The Psicho is even better than I remembered it: this extremely hopped Imperial IPA presents itself on the nose with a very intense and intriguing bouquet of tropical flowers, citrus fruits and passion fruit. The 99.8 IBUs, rich in American and oceanic hops, well balanced by caramelised malts, pleasantly invade the mouth, leaving a freshness and dryness at the end that makes you want to drink another one right away... and another one... to the point of madness. La Sophia is crazy: a lingering, creamy foam resembling that of cappuccino, black beer and a pleasant aroma characterised by roasted grains. The sweetness of the malts offers intense hints of coffee and dark chocolate, while the hops used balance this Stout and make it special. And the guys serving it were really nice!

So I got curious and discovered that La Buttiga also has a B&B for visitors who come from far and wide, housed above the brewery in an old courtyard dating back to the 15th century with a large reading room and a vast orchard. The rooms are all equipped with private bathroom, TV and minibar always stocked with Buttiga beer. I almost felt like spending a weekend there 😀

A hug,


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