Acquaint yourself with Rome’s growing thirst for birra artigianale, then read on for where to soak it in. What follows is not a list of all the best places to drink beer in Rome; instead, these are the places where you can have a stellar beer and food experience.
Bir & Fud is a Ma Che offshoot but has a brighter, more futuristic design; the long tunnellike barroom with its seemingly endless row of 36 taps looks like it was inspired by Owen and Beru’s farm on Tatooine. Beer options might include a glass of Saison Dupont, Gänstaller Zwickelbier or Montegioco Mummia—a tart, winebarrel- aged and blended golden ale from Piedmont, reminiscent of young lambic. But also, Bir & Fud is a pizzeria. In the corner of the dining room, the chef assembles a carminnucio—slathered in a thick pomodoro sauce but lacking cheese, dotted instead with chunks of fatty cured pork.
Be.Re. is the oddly spelled new sister to Ma Che and Bir & Fud, just north of the Vatican walls and open since December. Twenty gleaming taps? Check. Hand pumps? Check. Cantillon in the fridge? Check. Three wooden barrels of Franconian lager behind the bar, for pouring via gravity? Well, those are fake, actually. There are kegs below the counter though, and the kellerbier is real enough. Also real: the trapizzino counter in the next room. These pizza pockets stuffed with various treats—like cream sauce and anchovies or boiled veal tongue in green sauce—are an increasingly popular Roman street food. These days, there are even franchises in New York and Japan. This one, however, happens to be located in a world-class beer bar.
Angrypig is just a few blocks from Be.Re., also near the Vatican. It’s not a beer bar. It’s a cozy sandwich shop that stocks a changing handful of good beers, which might include Schlenkerla, a Trappist ale and an Italian pale ale, to name a few. The specialty here is porchetta—tender, marbled, thickly sliced roast pork. Being insufficiently experienced to rate porchetta, which Anthony Bourdain has called “the pride of Rome,” we’ll just say it currently sits very high on our all-time global sandwich rankings.
My Ale is a pun of sorts, since maiale is Italian for pig. On a back street southwest of the Pantheon, this delicatessen is chiefly concerned with artisanal Italian beer and organic food. The wall behind the counter is layered with crusty breads, hams, smoked meats, sausages and braids of garlic. The deli’s signature treat is a crispy panini sandwich filled with any of the above. The opposite wall is lined with bottled beers from independent local brewers, hand-picked by the owner. Opening soon next door is a more publike addition that will give the beer greater pride of place but will not, we assume, forget the great snacks.
Open Baladin, a brief walk southeast of My Ale and just across the Tiber from Trastevere, is run by the successful Piedmontese brewery Baladin. Its bar is an impressive sight, with high shelves of bottles and a long row of 38 taps plus three cask hand pumps. Most of the beers are from Baladin’s range, but there are enough guests to liven things up. Opinions are divided on the food, except for the crispy homemade chips, particularly those with pecorino cheese and garlic, which are terrific.
Luppulo Station is a train-themed beer bar near Trastevere Station, which means it could be your first stop if you’re taking the commuter train from Fiumicino Airport. Its 20 taps include a couple of cask hand pumps, and the styles run the gamut on a huge screen meant to look like an old-school train station timetable (you can even see and hear the letters clacking over when they change beers). The short list of bottled beers includes mainly vintage lambics. At aperitivo time, you can have a plate of snacks and a beer.
Pork ‘N’ Roll is on the east side of the city center, easy to reach from Tiburtina Station. This absolute gem is focused first and foremost on serving the pork raised on its own farm in a variety of ways. There are cold plates of salumi, warm plates of sizzling sausages, roast pork knuckles, thickly sliced smoked pancetta bacon. We forgot to check for vegetables and regretted that our stomachs, at some point, could hold no more pork. The seven keg taps and two hand pumps are mainly thoughtful Italian and Belgian artisanal beers, with more than half a thought to what pairs well with the food. Oh, and there are about 100 bottled beers. And good whiskeys. Book ahead.
Take Your Time is a nice option if you want to escape the beer bars and see how a small neighborhood cafe in Trastevere manages aperitivo without giving up decent beer. There are 40-odd bottled beers, including many Italian and Belgian that you can enjoy a with a plate of cold cuts or local cheeses.