BOSTON – Beer has come a long way in the U.S. in the past decade or more and most recently, this city took a giant step, becoming home to what may be the very first All Italian Reserve Beer List in the area.
At Pastoral ARTisan Pizza Kitchen+ Bar in the Fort Point Channel, Chef Todd Winer is now offering the list which features difficult to obtain brews from famous Italian craft breweries such as Birrificio Le Baladin, Birrificio Montegioco and Birrificio del Ducato to complement the critically acclaimed Neapolitano pizzas and authentic Italian fare.
The 10 beers on the list come in three sizes – 330 ml. which is similar a 12 oz. American beer size, 375 ml., like a 16 oz. bottle, and 750 ml., the size of a wine bottle. They’re priced between $12 and $55.
“We’re excited about them,” says Chef Winer. For the past several years he’s been exploring growing movement in the Italian beer market, one that treats beers much like wine. Pastoral thought about putting Italian brews on draft but found it would be extremely expensive. “We did a lot of research and sourced unique bottles and sizes from the mother of the Italian craft beer movement. They have an incredible three-year-old craft brewing program. “
Chef-Owner Todd Winer is excited about the new craft beer list, noting that he knows of no other restaurants in the region doing something similar
Pastoral switched its wine program to an all-Italian list which led Winer to thinking about doing the same thing with beers. They put a reserve beer list together with brews ranging from those for every day drinking to “super fine and hard to find.” Using a format similar to the one for wine lists, he created a separate list of the 10 brews.
The “arty, handcrafted beer list” is tied with twine and presented to the guest with the menu and wine list. “We wanted to do the whole gamut of what’s special,” Winer explains. “Some of the beers are limited production and two are made in collaboration with American brewers . We serve them in special glasses made in Italy.”
Italy has been known for many years for its wines, with varietals that date to pre-Roman Empire times, but most recently, the country has been in the midst of a lively craft beer movement. Just as Italian cuisine differs by the region it’s from, the craft beer movement is similarly ‘regionalized’ with indigenous ingredients harvested from the lands surrounding the breweries to offer unique, one-of-a-kind beers. The result is beers that pair well with food.
Much like wines, the Italian craft beers pair extremely well with Pastoral’s Italian menu
Chef Winer and Pastoral have always offered a broad selection of Italian wines with a large Amoro list, plus 18 rotating beers on tap. “These rare beers, nearly impossible to find elsewhere, are offered at a price point that can’t be matched,” the chef points out.
The selection lets diners enjoy authentic Italian craft beer with their meal much as in Italy. Many of the brews have been aged, much like wines, in casks that previously had different styles of wines in them. “Nowhere have I seen a curated list of this scale, Chef/Owner Winer notes. “I just wanted to keep it interesting and give people what I believe is an unforgettable dining experience.”
The Italian beer program took about two and a half months to put together, with a distributor helping to train the service staff. Customer feedback, Chef Winer notes, has been good. “We sell a lot of the $12 to $20 range and a few high end ones to a few people who are really into beer.” Prices, he adds, are well below those of many restaurants. “The goal is to introduce people to different styles of Italian beers.”
“Che beve birra campa, cent’annii,” he quotes, translating the proverb, “he who drinks beer will live to be a hundred.”
Visit the restaurant in the Fort Point Channel and check out the Pastoral Italian Beer Book with detailed descriptions of each of the brews.