16 July 2015

New handpump at De Cervesia, Lucca

Lucca lies about 12 miles north east of Pisa in Tuscany.
Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, Lucca
I blogged about De Cervesia, Lucca after previous visits in January 2014.

De Cervesia Tap Room, Lucca (Photo: Richard Lock)
In June 2015, I booked a room in a B&B in Via Anfiteatro, near to Piazza dell'Anfiteatro and only a short walk away from the De Cervesia Tap Room at Via Michele Rosi 20. The tap room is situated in a traffic free area opposite Ciclo Divino (wine bar) and customers from both establishments can take their drinks outside where there are benches and wide pavements.
Matteo behind the bar at De Cervesia Tap Room
 Revisiting De Cervesia tap room / beer bar with friends in June 2015, it was great to see Matteo behind the bar which now has a raised Angram handpump.
Matteo demonstrated how the housing for the handpump could be opened to provide easy access for maintenance (see adjacent photo).

'Blackout' stout from Birrificio Rurale, based in Desio, north of Milan, was an appropriate beer to serve through the handpump as it could be served less chilled and without gas pressure.

It was nice to be able to give Matteo the issue of  Ullage (Mar/Apr 2014), which included my article about De Cervesia and Orzo Bruno (Pisa), published following my previous visits.
There were three beers served through fonts from KeyKegs. The first beer we tried was Eva, a Pilsner from Birrificio Brùton, based at San Cassiano di Moriano, in the valley of the river Serchio, about 5 miles north of Lucca. This was a refreshing way to start the evening and it was soon time for a glass of Terzo Miglio, an American Pale Ale from Birrificio Rurale that would prove to be my favourite beer of the evening. 
Cheers Matteo! from Richard, Tim (with Ullage), Roger and Derek
A big change at De Cervesia since my last visits was expansion from the corner unit into the adjacent shop unit. This provides extra indoor space for customers and space for a cold room where bottles and KeyKegs are stored.
Cold room door on left in extra room (Photo: Richard Lock)
Kyle, on holiday from USA, asked Matteo for a beer suggestion and returned from the cold room with a bottle of Zona Cesarini from Birrificio Toccalmatto based near Parma. 
Kyle & Matteo in the cold room (Photo via Kyle Dean Reinford)

Matteo explained that Renato Cesarini played football for Juventus and was renowned for scoring in the last minutes of the game so that Zona Cesarini was another way of saying 'at the last minute'. 
Matteo said Japanese (Sorachi Ace) hops were added at the last minute to this beer and this explains both the name and the inspiration for the label art.

The third beer we tried was Jale, a 5.6% ABV ESB style beer brewed by Brewfist Italian Ales based in Codogno, near Piacenza and Cremona. This was full flavoured and a darker colour than our two previous beers.
Some of the beers we had been drinking were in Brewfist glasses labelled with their slogan 'More beer More people' (NB Not 'Mare beer Mare peaple'). Several customers asked for bottles of Brewfist Spaceman IPA (7% ABV) during our stay.
Matteo's brother, Michael, on a stint behind the bar
Matteo is an AC/DC fan and so are some of his customers. Matteo kindly put on some music by St Paul and the Broken Bones when I requested a change from his favourite music.
Derek, Roger and Richard - De Cervesia
By now we had all enjoyed a few beers at De Cervesia and as now food is served we asked Matteo for a Pizza restaurant recommendation. He suggested Tre Merli in Via Anfiteatro but when we got there it was 'fully booked' so it was back to Mara Meo in Piazza San Francesco for a late pizza.

As well as the beer bar / tap room, there is also a De Cervesia beer shop, open during the daytime at Via Fillungo, 92 (Closed Mondays).
Map shows position of De Cervesia beer shop (west) and tap room (east )
De Cervesia Taproom, Via Michele Rosi 20, Lucca.
Open: Tue-Sun 19:00 - 22:00
Website: http://www.decervesia.it

15 July 2015

New handpump at Orzo Bruno, Pisa.

I blogged about beer from Bientina at Orzo Bruno, Pisa, after my first visit to the beer bar in January 2014. All the beer for Orzo Bruno is brewed by Birrificio Artigiano di Bientina at nearby Bientina.

It was interesting to see a new Angram handpump on the bar when I revisited Orzo Bruno on Sunday 28 June & Wednesday 1 July, 2015.
Angram handpump and Livio serving at the bar

Valdera Rossa

Valdera Rossa is an Irish style red ale with plenty of malt character. By serving the beer from a handpump it is less gassy and chilled as appropriate for appreciating this style of ale.

Another innovation was the seasonal beer, Juni, a beer with Juniper flavouring that could be 'intensified' with an extra drop of juniper essence from a bottle on the bar.                                            
Juniper essence can be added to Juni
Unlike my January 2014 visit when it was raining and cool, in June / July 2015 it was hot, the front windows were open onto the street and customers were dressed accordingly.

Thanks to all the staff at Orzo Bruno for chatting with me and serving me with beer and food. A special thank you to Miki on Sunday and Livio on Wednesday who were running the bar. It was also nice to chat with Dave & Jackie, visiting from Yorkshire, on the Wednesday.

Miki with Yeti and Wombat fonts

The beer is very good value at Orzo Bruno. 0.3 litre costs 3 euro, 0.5 litre costs 4 euro (Prices in June 2015). There is a choice of glass styles, 'pint' or tall tankard.

Orzo Bruno opens at 7pm. There is some free food on paper plates on the bar at opening time. Meals can also be ordered from the bar and are reasonably priced.

Orzo Bruno,
Via Case Dipinte n. 6/8,
Pisa 56100
The Orzo Bruno website (Italian only) http://www.orzobruno.it/

La Torre del Luppolo, Pisa. Beer shop/bar

There are now at least two good beer bars to visit in Pisa!
La Torre del Luppolo is situated at Via Renato Fucini 13, within a few minutes walk of Orzo Bruno. This is on the 'Leaning Tower' side of the river Arno - cross the river on Ponte di Mezzo if you are approaching from Pisa Centrale railway station in the south.
View looking south from the north bank of the river Arno with Ponte di Mezzo on the right
La Torre del Luppolo only has a small frontage but you can't miss the sign above the entrance.
Via Renato Fucini 13
The five beer taps are positioned just inside the door, near the front window.
Just above and to the right of the beer taps, a flat screen monitor gives details of the draught beers (Birra alla Spina) - Beer, Brewery, Country, Style, ABV, Colour and Description.
On my visit on a Wednesday evening (1 July 2015), Alessandro Tomeo was behind the bar. He had just changed over a keg for one of the beer taps and generously offered everyone in the bar a sample of the new beer.
Alessandro Tomeo behind the bar
On the opposite wall from the bar space are wooden cubes and tall fridges holding bottles of beer for sale to drink at the bar or to take away.
I had a look around at the wide variety of beers on offer which included a good variety from the United Kingdom including St Peter's Brewery, Black Isle Brewing Co and Moor Beer Co.. There were also beers from Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and USA.
The narrow wooden bar is just deep enough for a beer mat and so there is just enough space to rest a glass or bottle of beer on it. Towards the back of the beer shop are more shelves of beer, and other items for sale including T-shirts, glasses and books.
Before leaving I enjoyed a (plastic) glass of Bianca wheat beer from  Birrificio Brùton, based at San Cassiano di Moriano, in the valley of the river Serchio, just north of nearby Lucca. The recipe for Bianca includes local Garfagnana spelt wheat. 

Ciao Alessandro!


Via Renato Fucini 13, 56127 Pisa, Italy.

Opening Hours (July 2015) Mon - Wed: 18:00-24:00; Thu - Sun: 18:00-01:00