Milan Beer Gen
Last Updated : 03/04/10
ilan has a thriving beer culture with several brewpubs, many pubs including one of Europe's top scooping bars, some excellent beer shops and Italy’s best-known beer writer, Lorenzo Dabove (Kuaska), living there. The one problem is the opening hours of the brewpubs and bars which are generally a few hours in the afternoon then from early evening until late; not much use if you only have daytime hours to scoop! Saying that, the quality of the various shops and bars more than make up for their limited hours and Milan must be one of Europe's top beer destinations right now.
The tram directions include the destination you need to be going in (e.g. tram 33 (Sire Raul) means tram 33 heading for Sire Raul) although this doesn't excuse you from getting your own map and working out which routes go where! Be warned that there's considerable disruption on the ATM tramway at present due to metro work which has closed the northern loop of the "ring" (trams 29/30) resulting in short workings and amended tram routes, in particular trams 29/30 and 33. Get a map from the ATM office in the metro station at Stazione Centrale or Duomo, but it doesn't have stops on it so I'd get a decent street map too...
One thing to remember when using the trams is that ATM seemingly operate a "Yin-Yang" philosophy; yes, it's a huge system, but the stops are rarely marked with a name... yes, some of the trams are superbly heritage, but none have any heating... yes, you can get to all the bars and brewpubs by tram, but the services are very unreliable with frequent shambles occurring... Also note that many stops have two names depending on which roads the tram's route intersects as this is how stop names are written (e.g. Imbriani/Scalvini is where the road the tram is on, Imbriani, meets Scalvini but on the way south the same stop is called Imbriani/Ugoni owing to the roads Imbriani crosses being different on each side). It's all very confusing, even more so as most stops don't have a sign and even if you're lucky enough to get announcements they're rarely audible, and it's no use counting stops as the trams miss out stops where there are no passengers to embark or disembark (you need to press the stop button to make the trams stop). Enjoy, it's certainly a challenge...
Despite this, however, ATM run a decent system and the 48-hour tickets are particularly good value at €5.50 (24-hour ones are €3), stamp them in the machine at the front of the trams the first time you board a vehicle (the one with a top hole for the ticket, some machines (those at the back) are for the new cards and don't work with paper tickets). The easiest way to buy tickets is from machines or ticket windows in Metro stations although they are available from tabacchi kiosks (or anywhere displaying the ATM logo).
Have a look at my updated and rather good (if I say so myself) Google map of Milan... or the report for our 2009 visit here...
Birrifico Lambrate, via Adelchi 5. Mon-Fri 12:00-15:00 & 18:00-02:00, Sat opens evenings only. ()
Out in the east by Lambrate rail station, tram 33 (Sire Raul) to Porpora/Teodosio for a five-minute walk; carry on along the road following the tramlines and you'll see Via Adelchi on your right shortly with the pub on your right and brewery in the next building along.
Like a British pub, only better! Noisy and bustling dark pub with great veggie Aperitivo (basically a free buffet which you can dive into once you've bought a drink; it can be simple stuff like olives and cheese but can, in the case of Lambrate, be a sprawling affair of various stuzzichini (morsels) such as rice, pasta, vegetables and just about anything else) at the end of the bar and even a handpump dispensing their American Pale Ale Ligera! The barman gave me samples of all beers first and they were all pretty interesting, especially the Ghisa smoked stout and Montestella. Well worth a visit, but it may be better at quieter times as it’s not very large inside! The free aperitivo is available from 18:00 each day (including Saturdays) and is highly recommended!
Giardino della Birra, Via Ortica 10. Mon-Fri 12:00-15:00 & 19:00-02:00, Sat-Sun 19:00-02:00. ()
Take tram 5 (Ortica) to it’s eastern terminus. Continue along the main road (Via G.A. Amadeo) under the railway arch (in the direction the tram was going before it turned off), go through the subway, continue for about 250 metres and the pub is on the right.
Makes more of it’s food than it’s beer but it’s still good to see the room of conditioning tanks and gleaming copper inside. The food is decent and features steaks in a variety of forms whilst the beers are above average if not as interesting as Lambrate’s. A fair trek out in the east, but the brewer is sociable and will probably give you a tour of the plant if you appear interested enough. Apparently they also have beer from Rurale on sale in bottle and, maybe, on tap plus a new branch has opened in the north of the city, see entry here.
Zythum, via Rutilia 16. Open from 20:00 daily. ()
Tram 24 (Vigentino) to Ripamonte/Serio. Carry on in the same direction, cross a little river then turn right into Via Rutilia. The brewpub is about 50 metres on your right.
Billed as a “Ristorante Brasiliano”, this brewpub produces three permanent and a seasonal beer from it's surprisingly large brewplant although none were particularly interesting on our visit and the whole place is more geared up to eating than just drinking.
In addition, there are two more brewpubs just outside of the city plus many others in nearby towns - check here for the latest details. There are "interurban" day tickets available, although we didn't have time to use them, but single tickets can be bought on the buses/trams or, preferably, from kiosks before you travel.
LOPS, Via B. Cellini 2, Trezzano sul Naviglio. Open daily from 08:30 apparently!!
Bus 327 (Trezzano sul Naviglio, from Bisceglie Metro station on the Red line) stops across the road at Colombo Goldoni. Beige Phil reports the beers were fizzy rubbish!
Officina della Birra, Viale Matteotti 11, Bresso. Open daily 18:00 - 02:00 plus weekday afternoons 12:00-15:00.
Brewpub just outside the city which makes organic beers. A good ten minutes' walk from the Parco Nord Clerici stop of tram 31 (Cinisello), likewise from the northern terminus (Niguarda/Parco Nord) of tram routes 4 and 5, or take bus 708 (Bresso, from Sesto Rondo' Metro on the Red line or the Parco Nord terminus of tram 31) which stops virtually outside at 25 Aprile/Matteotti. You can also take the heritage "interurban tramway" from Parco Nord (every 45 minutes) to the third stop (Veneto/Molino), then take Via Patellani right to the far end , turn right, and you can't miss it.
Stephen Jackson reports that "The bus stop is on XXV Aprile so you need head back towards the main road that you just left and turn left. The brewpub is totally unmissable on your left-hand side. If in doubt the trick is to head back towards the entrance to the airfield. The other point to note is that the bus back goes from the same stop and actually goes in the same direction as the bus you came in on - you need to check the destination very carefully! They are not that frequent but there did seem to be a large number of them when we wanted to head back sometime between 13:00 and 13:30 and the only explanation is that there are extra buses running at around the time school finishes for the day". Beige Phil says the beers were decent on his visit.
Looks like a converted factory of some description with large brewing kettles at the far end. It's set up kind of like a canteen, which is unusual, but there's plenty of beery interest around with the steaming brewplant, tanks behind the bar and more stuff behind a glass screen. The beers were very good on our visit and they're available to take away in bottle too.
Pubs and Bars.
If you're flying into Bergamo (Orio al Serio) with Ryanair then here's a hot tip; before boarding the coach to Milano, how about having a look around Bergamo itself? If you're simply there for beer then there's not a lot of point and you may as well head straight to Milan, but if you want to see a beautifully preserved "upper town", scoop two cable tramways (plus a very tedious plastic new one) or simply unwind after the Ryotscare experience, take bus 1A (destination "Colle Aperto", every 15 minutes or so) from outside the terminal after buying your €3.50 day pass from the Bergamo tourism office in the terminal.
The bus first calls at the train station - from where you can catch an hourly train, currently at 2 minutes past the hour, into Milan Centrale for a mere €4.20, although check here first - before passing through the "citta bassa" then tackling the hairpin bends up to the high town. From the terminus, walk through the archway and you can do a cable tramway (free with the day pass) even higher for amazing views: clear weather permitting.
Papageno Pub, Via Bartolomeo Colleoni 1, Bergamo Città Alta. Open all day?
Situated just off the main square in the upper town, very easy to find.
Nice little bar in the centre of Bergamo's attractive upper town which serves the local Maspy beers in bottle so you can score four beers straight off if you so choose! A decent range of commoner Belgian beers is also available. There is also a bar called Osteria della Birra at Piazza Mascheroni 1/c, just across the square, although we didn't have time to check this out - reports please!
Ambrosiano (Fermento), Via Camillo Ugoni 18. 11:00-15:00 / 18:00-02:00 all days, Sat evening only. ()
Tram 3 (Bausan) or Trolleybus 92 (Viale Isonzo) to Imbriani/Ugoni and the bar is a short walk along Via Camilio Ugoni.
This place bills itself as a brewpub but, in fact, is nothing of the sort! It sells beers from local micro BABB (Birrificio Artigianale Bassa Bresciana) and the house beer, Regina Nera (Black Queen), is brewed there also but by the owners - or so they told me! A large place with art on the walls and a laid-back, comfortable vibe and friendly staff, it's worth the trip out and you can call in at Isolla Della Birra easily on the way back to the centre; the two are only six stops away on the No.3 tram.
BQ, Via Losanna 36. Open daily 12:00-15:00 and 19:00-02:00. ()
Out in the North-western Bullona district, take trams 12 (Roserio) or 14 (Cimitorio Maggiore) to Cenisio/Diocleziano, alternatively trams 1 (Roserio) or 19 (Castelli) to Sempione/Arona stop at the southern end of the street. Although the Cenisio stop is much closer, routes 12/14 are plastic (although 12 drops "real" in the evenings!) whereas 1 and 19 are 1930's ventotto cars and, anyhow, it's less than 5 minutes to the Arona stop; we timed the walk!
An amazing bar at the bottom of a large block of flats and the latest venture of local beer maestro Paolo Polli. Not content with running a beer shop (Enoteca Birreria), a beer-themed restaurant (Enoteca Decanter) and a brewery (Baüscia), he's now opened a bar which serves an amazing 20 beers on tap plus several from cask. Around half the beers are from small Italian micros with the rest being from Belgium, Germany, the UK and even America! Beers can be bought in 0.4l glasses or, far more usefully for us scoopers, 0.2l glasses or even three 0.1l tasters for €4! The whole place seems more American in style than European with a huge tap range but the beer and philosophy behind is very Italian and very impressive... Along with the superb Football Pub in Rome, this is one of the best bars in Italy and you'll go a long, long way to find one with such a diverse and interesting beer range! Food (mainly paninis) is also served.
Enoteca Decanter, Via Lodovico Castelvetro 20. Open 12:00-15:00, 19:00-0100 Mon-Sat, Sun 18:00-02:00 ()
Only a short walk from Enoteca Birreria and BQ.
Cosy, sociable little restaurant run by Paolo Polli which specialises in good food and artisanal beer, plus some wine. We only passed through and didn't eat but it looked very nice indeed. More of a place for food than beer.
Hop, Via Regina Margherita 4. Open 12.00-15.00 and 18.30- 02.00 daily. ()
Take any tram around the "ring" (9, 29 or 30) to Monte Nero/Spartaco. The pub is on the inside of the ring opposite the huge and strange walls of the Rotundo della Besana which looks just like a loco roundhouse but is, in fact, a cemetary for the nearby hospital!
Probably the second-best beer range in Milan after BQ, this small and cosy pub - with the biggest mirror I've ever seen covering one whole wall - has ten Italian draught beers on tap, mainly from Lambrate, but can include such whoppers as Bi-Du and Troll; see the blackboard for the current list as it's dark in there and reading the clips can be difficult without a davy lamp. Sociable service, decent food and good coffee too plus delicious aperitivo bruschettas and cheaper pints (the 50cl medias) during evening happy hour. Lambrate's superb Ligera APA is usually on tap as it's the landlady's favourite beer! (with good reason, I say).
Il Giardino Della Birra 2, Via Gerolamo Rovetta 17. Open weekdays 12:00-15:00 and Mon-Sat 19:00-01:00, closed Sunday.
Take the red metro to Turro (direction Sesto 1 Maggio), walk down Via Matteo Maria Boiardo to the end and the bar is there on the corner.
Second non-brewing (presumably) branch of the Ortica brewpub; we didn't visit but will try to next time, reports please!
Isola della Birra, Via Medardo Rosso 15. Open Mon-Fri 12:00-15:00 and 20:00-02:00, Sat evenings only. Closed Sun unless it's the first or last of the month, then open 20:00-02:00. ()
Tram 3 (Bausan) or 4 (Niguarda, Parco Nord) to Farini/Alserio, then walk back and veer left-ish into Via Medardo Rosso and the pub is on your right almost at the other end, a few minutes walk away.
Cracking little bar with six beers on tap, mainly Lambrate, and an increasing range of Italian micros in bottle too. It's only 6 stops on the tram from Fermento and so is well worth working into your return to the city centre. The landlord has apparently started his own "cuckoo" brewery called Joker so if you see any of those on the bar they are from BABB at present.
La Belle Alliance, Via Evangelista Torricelli 1.
Take tram 3 to Meda/Torricelli and the bar is in front of you in the middle of the junction behind the big tree.
Bar with lots of Belgian beer plus a guest tap which features some Italian micros, plus cask ales generally from Hop Back. We didn't have time to visit but it sounds like one to have a peek at if you're in the area.
La Ratera, Via Ratti 22. Open 19:30 to 01:30 daily.
Out in the Northwestern suburb of Trenno, a good six KM or so from the centre, this bar is reachable via bus 80 (Trivulzio De Angeli) from Metro station Bonola (on the Red line) to, I think, the Gorlini/Scolari stop.
Foody pub that, apparently, does a good plate and also six Italian beers on tap including Italiano, Baladin and suchlike. Maybe not worth the trip scoop-wise, but it sounds like a decent place to visit if you have a spare evening in the city.
Mulligans Irish Pub, Via Giuseppe Govone 28. Open 19:00-02:00 Mon-Sat, closed Sun.
Take trams 12 (Roserio) or 14 (Cimitorio Maggiore) to Cenisio Diocleziano from where the pub is a short walk up Via Gran Sant Bernardo then left and it's on your right after a few metres.
Not your everyday tacky "Oirish" pub this one, it has some decent Italian micro beers on sale and also, usually, a cask ale from the UK although it's doubtful if that's what you will be after there! Close to the stunning BQ, the best scooping pub for many miles! We didn't bother to visit owing to the call of BQ...
Pazzeria, Piazza Giovanni Dalle Bande Nere 2. Open daily 18.00 to 02.00. ()
Ride the red metro to Bande Nere (direction Bisceglie) then take the Viale Pisa exit which brings you out in dense foliage just across from the bar itself which isn't signed that well but the beer paraphenalia in the windows should see you right!
New beer bar with a large range of beer on tap plus a couple of fridges of (fairly expensive) bottles. Many of the taps vary so it's pot luck what you'll find (we were treated to a Belhaven range - cheers then!) but, looking at the beer list, there are generally some top Italian micros and much Belgian stuff available, although the menu isn't that user-friendly and it's difficult to work out what's on tap and what's in bottle... A regular outlet for local Geco beers.
Q Beer, Via Mecenate 76. Mon 12:00-15:00, Tue-Fri 12:00-15:00 & 18:30-02:00, Sat 19:00-02:00. ()
Tram 27 (Ungheria) to Mecenate/Zante or the next one (they're very close). Follow the lines until you see an advert for Q Beer on your right next to a narrow road alongside a bakery; the pub is down this road on the right after 30 metres or so.
Three beers are produced; pils, red and wheat, although I have read that the brewery itself - out of town in the suburbs, not here - has closed... any gen? We tried the beers and thought they tasted craft-brewed so maybe it's still open...
Woodstock, Via Pestalozzi 1.
Take tram 2 (Negrelli) to Lodovico il Moro/Ponti (just under the ringroad bridge) and the bar is a short distance further along on your left (the tram stop back to the centre is a little further on out of town), or alternately trolleybus 90/91 (Lotto) to P.te Milizie/Ripa Ticinese then descend the steps to the canalside and walk along out of town for a short distance.
Large bar with an impressive line of fridges along one wall full of bottles. Sounds good, but when you start to examine the contents you realise that the selection isn't anything to excite the hardcore ticker with very few Italian micros but many industrial bottles and commoner Belgians. OK, so it's a decent enough list and we could have chosen something with a little work, but it seems as if this pub is resting on it's laurels and needs to have a long, hard look at what the new kids on the block are doing and up it's game accordingly. Don't bother looking at the taps, they're all rubbish. If this weren't enough, the place is also - apparently - expensive... any reports from those who actually had a beer in there would be welcome!
A Tutta Birra, Via Lazzaro Palazzi 15. Mon 16:00-19:30, Tue-Fri 09.30-13.00 and 16.00-19.30, Sat 15:30-19.30, Sun closed. ()
Trams 1 (Greco), 5 (Niguarda, Parco Nord) or 33 (Sire Raul) to Lazzaretto/Tunisia then follow a map! As a bonus, these routes are all solid 1930's ventotto beasts!
Superb beer shop with 300+ beers including some decent Italian micro brews, this place is like an Aladdin’s cave of delights! Only five minutes from a tramstop and with a friendly owner, it’s highly recommended to visit and pick up some huge scoops whilst in Milan. It's also not that far from Stazione Centrale.
Birreria Decanter, via Piero della Francesca 19. Open 10:30-12:30, 15:30-19:30 Mon-Sat. ()
See the info for Baüscia, it's very close.
Stocks Bauscia beers (when available) plus many other rare Italian micros plus beers from Belgium and elsewhere; a lot of beers for such a tiny place! Another branch of Paolo Polli's superb beer empire, this one run by his sister!
COIN food court, Piazza Cinque Giornate 1/A. Open 10:00-20:00 daily, Sat until 20:30. ()
Department store on the corner of this attractive square, easy to reach via any tram on the ring (30 or 9) plus 12 and 27 too. Look out for the huge Tokyo-esque TV screen on the exterior, you can't miss it... even I didn't!
We went in here on the off-chance and found a real goldmine! In the basement is a deli area with a cracking range of Italian craft beer including some we'd not seen elsewhere! There is also a selection of foreign beers (Brewdog and Sierra Nevada being two) and some delicious-looking food too, well worth a look and reasonably cheap too.
La Cascina in Citta, Via Privata Nicolò Alunno 8. Open 08.30 - 12.30. – 16.00 - 20.00.
Take the red metro to Bande Nere (direction Bisceglie) from where it's a short walk in the opposite direction from Pazzeria.
Seems to be an organic shop which sells Greco beer from just outside the city although we didn't have time to visit. Close to the new Pazzeria beer bar.
Rinascente Piazza Duomo, Via Santa Radegonda 1. Open daily 10:00-00:00.
Opposite the huge spiky beige cathedral on the North of the Piazza del Duomo.
Posh department store which has a food hall upstairs where a small range of Italian bottles are on sale alongside lots of dross. I can't really recommend this place and, it seems, neither can the local beer lovers who withdrew their support!
Roybeer, Via Plinio 63. Open Tues-Sat 10:00-13:00, 15:30-19:00. ()
Trams 23 (Rin. Lambrate) or 33 (Sire Raul) to Pascoli/Erba from where it's a short walk up Via Plinio on your right.
Homebrew and bottle shop with a superb selection of beers including many surprisingly rare American and Scandinavian brews. The Italian range isn't huge but, overall, it's an essential visit and very close to the tramstop!
Baüscia, Via Piero della Francesca 38. ()
Situated Northwest of the city centre in the Bullona district, take tram 19 (Roserio) or 1 (Castelli) to Domodossola/Sempione; both these trams run through the centre (19 starts at Duomo) and both are real 1930's ventotto cars! Line 7 also stops there but goes nowhere near the centre and, in any case, is solid plastic.
Opened in 2006. this micro-brewery makes a wide range of beers both in bottle and in keg and is owned by local beer hero Paolo Polli. Your best chance of finding the beers is on tap at BQ although we also saw bottles at A Tutta Birra and Decanter.
We stayed at the cosy and friendly Hotel Brianza at Via Panfilo Castaldi 16 for a number of reasons, mainly the decent rate we got (Milan's hotels are very expensive!), it's proximity to the Tutta Birra beer shop and also it's ease of access by public transport with five tram routes passing by - two right past the front door - with most being operated by "proper" 1930's ventotto trams. The breakfast was a bit poor but everything else was fine and I'd recommend Brianza to anyone looking for an easily reachable hotel from where you can access the city's beery delights. There's an Ibis almost opposite which will save you a few quid.
Another choice, if you want to stop close to BQ, is the Nasco at Corso Sempione 69, 5 minutes walk from the best bar in town. We stayed in March 2010 and it's a decent place with good breakfast buffet and trams 1 and 19 (plus a plastic) stop almost outside!
|Bauscia brewery||Birreria Decanter||Zythum brewpub||Now that's a tram... 1929 vintage 1564 in Duomo loop working service 19||20 taps at BQ|
|BQ, the top scooping pub in Milan||Paolo Polli in BQ with his 20 taps!||Gazza and Paolo Polli in BQ||Gazza scooping in QBeer||QBeer|