PILS&LOVE: From the story of a beer to the History of Beer!
*** THIS ARTICLE IS DEDICATED TO PILS&LOVE, THE FIRST ITALIAN CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL EVER TO BE “EXPORTED” ABROAD. INFO ON THE EVENT ARE LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE. EVERYTHING ABOVE HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN ORDER TO TAKE YOU BY THE HAND ON A JOURNEY THROUGH THE HISTORY OF CRAFT BEER IN ITALY, AND THE DISCOVERY OF HOW A PILSENER CHANGED IT FOREVER… IF CONTEXT IS RELEVANT TO YOU, WE SUGGEST YOU READ THIS FROM THE START! ENJOY 😉 ***
Little more than 21 years ago, the Birrificio Italiano brewpub opened its doors in Lurago Marinone, near lake Como, in the north of Italy. The first glasses of a very atypical beer were poured – as atypical was craft beer as a whole, an obscure, unknown product for the Italian masses used to identify beer with the industrial yellow fizz – and atypical because that one beer was completely different from any other beer brewed before. That beer was Tipopils: a Pils which was different from the classic examples of German-Czech tradition as, apart from being unpasteurized and unfiltered, it offered a paradigm shift compared to the standards of the style. Tipopils literally means “a sort of pilsener”, and not a “proper” pilsener, because it was the first of its kind to be dry-hopped. Dry hopping added to the lightness and balance typical of the pilsener style an unprecedented overload of herbal aromas which pushed the focus of the drinking experience on hops.
And the innovation became canon: the international success of Tipopils turned the “sort of pilsener” into a new standard, which would inspire great brewers all over the world to dry hop their Pils-style beers. The example turned out so substanstial that the family of dry-hopped pilseners started to be referred to as Italian pilseners.
2. PILS PRIDE
Ten years after the birth of Tipopils, in 2006, the Italian craft beer scenario has changed a lot: the number of craft breweries has escalated to 300 and counting, the craft beer movement as a whole is getting shape and recognition, the offer has increased drastically in terms of both quality and choice. Experimenting seems to be the general watchword: while on one end this leads to an improvement in brewing techniques and knowledge, on the other the craft scenario gets flooded with extreme concoctions, either very sweet, sour or bitter, or brewed with unusual ingredients. While certainly contributing to the success and allure of craft beer over specific segments of the market, this kind of production instilled in the perception of the general audience that “craft” had to necessarily mean “weird”.
This perspective on craft beer really deviated from Agostino and the whole Birrificio Italiano team’s vision: their mission always was to brew beers “made for drinking”, perfectly executed but focused on the concepts of balance, elegance and agreeableness; beers which could be directly enjoyed with the senses rather than objects whose appreciation necessarily required an intellectual mediation, beers to which the cultural and conceptual values were of course relevant, but always dependent from the sheer pleasure of drinking. The world of craft beer was perceived by the everyday audience more and more as a domain of obscure and complex things, in front of which the ordinary drinker grew by the day intimidated by things he or she didn’t understand. In reaction to this, a festival which would celebrate the essentiality of the beer style which was at the same time both the simplest and the most beloved by longtime connoisseurs was born: the first edition of Pils Pride was organized in May 2006 at the Birrificio Italiano brewpub in Lurago Marinone, a festival dedicated to “craft pilseners, their passionate drinkers, their proud brewers”. Pils Pride has been celebrated every year in May, ever since.
It’s 2017. The Italian beer scene is counting over 1000 breweries and beer firms, the Country is now a key component in the international craft beer movement ackowledged for the personality and quality of its products, and its great capabilities in terms of experimenting and innovation. Beer culture has lept forward worldwide, the languages in both the production and consumption of craft beer have reached their maturity and the importance of balance and elegance in the drinking experience has globally risen in recognition. On May the 14th and 15th the 11th edition of Pils Pride was held in Lurago Marinone, breaking all records of attendance. In October 2016 during Eurhop (one of Europe’s leading beer festivals, organized by Manuele Colonna’s Ma che siete venuti a fa pub), Agostino is talking to his friends from Oxbow Brewing Co. and the idea of exporting the Pils Pride format to the USA pops up on their request. The USA are home to the craft movement, to some of the best beers on the planet and to amazing pilseners too. Some of them are directly inspired by Tipopils (such as Firestone Walker’s Pivo Pils), others are brewed by Agostino’s very close friends (Russian River’s STS Pils, Trou Du Diable’s La Pitoune), some are born as a solution to relieve palate fatigue in sour-centered breweries (Hill Farmstead and Oxbow itself) or count as the diamond tip in the production of lager-only breweries (Heater Allen). According to Tim and Greg, Oxbow’s brewers and owners, 2017 should have been the year for these great beers to be celebrated in the US; and for the style to be put under the spotlight for the pleasure of the craft-loving American people. After months of work and patient and thriling wait, the first American edition of Pils Pride will see the light on July the 15th 2017 under the name of Pils&Love! It’s a matter of great… Pride and satisfaction, for usa t Birrificio Italiano and we think for the Italian craft beer movement as a whole: for the first time a beer event concept completely elaborated in Italy will be exported abroad! And not to just any place: but to the most significant and important Country for the craft beer movement, where the revolution started back in the Seventies; the place where trends, avant-garde and all things beer happen.
Pils&Love will be held at the South Maine College Campus in South Portland (ME), close to a historic lighthouse on the Atlantic shore. Maine’s boundless beaches will be the place where glasses full to the brim clink together, as the pilseners from 50+ craft breweries from the USA, Italy, Germany and Canada are poured nonstop.
List of confirmed breweries: Oxbow, Birrificio Italiano, Ardent, Banded Horn, Bellswoods, Birra Elvo, Birrificio del Ducato, Birrificio Lariano, Bunker, Cambridge, DC Brau, Dirigo, Fair State, Foundation, Foxfarm, Firestone Walker, Gänstaller, Half Acre, Hardywood, Heater Allen, Hill Farmstead, Holy Mountain, Industrial Arts, Iron Hill, Jack’s Abby, Kent Falls, Left Hand, Liquid Riot, LIC Beer Project, Live Oak, Lost Nation, Mahr’s Bräu, Notch, North Coast, Russian River, Schönramer, Second District, Sierra Nevada, Sly Fox, Smuttynose, Suarez Family, Temescal, Threes, Tired Hands, Trou du Diable, Two Roads, Urban Chestnut, The Veil, Victory, Von Trapp, Zero Gravity.
We will try to honor the festival with our Delia, an ultra-fresh batch of Extra Hop brewed specifically for the event… And naturally, Tipopils – the one which started it all.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/272549613154771/