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Craft beer the Italian way

It's Berlin Beer Week, and craft beer is on everyone's lips – in more languages than just English and German. Check out cosy Prenzlauer Berg pub Birra, which offers both Milanese suds and Italian flair.

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Maria Runarsdottir

“It’s all about family! You are family, we are family, everyone who comes here is part of our family,” gestures an excited bartender. If you were sceptical that craft beer could be an Italian thing, Birra is here to prove you wrong. The cosy Prenzlauer Berg pub is the brainchild of brewmasters Manuele Colonna and Giampaolo Sangiorgi, the latter of whom founded Milan microbrewery Birrificios Lambrate. With two successful pubs in Italy, he took a leap of faith and moved to Berlin, flying in to celebrate Birra’s April 30 opening. Sixteen ornate beer taps head the bar, their brass polished to perfection. Just as much pride has gone into the beers themselves, all Italian, most from the Lambrate brewery itself, from the Pilsner-style Montestella (€3.50/0.3L; €5.50/0.5L) to the citrusy, Belgian-style Brighella (€5/0.4L, but it’s 9 percent!). In true Italian style, you can get a plate of meat or cheese antipasti to soak up the alcohol (€10.50-€13.50). But more memorable is that everyone who enters the place, Italian or not, is greeted like a long-lost sibling; loyal customers even keep personal tankards behind the bar. The high prices mean you won’t want the family gathering to last that long, and the lack of an outdoor beer garden is a drawback now that summer’s hit – but if a business can rely on goodwill and enthusiasm alone, Birra should have no issues.  

Birra, Prenzlauer Allee 198, Prenzlauer Berg, Mon-Sun 17-1