Tuscany is well known for its wine, but in recent years there are an increasing number of micro brewery start ups which are making the drinking scene even more interesting. What's unusual about today's tour is that the brewery is the first and only one in the heart of wine country.
As the owners point out "it's not a provocation, just an alternative." Of course we're not going to forget this is wine country, and we'll be visiting the top winery from my Wine Lover's Tour, where we'll have a guided tour of the cellars, and a sit down tasting of their highly rated Chianti, Chianti Reserve and Super Tuscan wines.
A trip through Tuscany wouldn't be complete without time to contemplate the scenery and take a photo or two, so we'll drive leisurely making all the stops necessary.
Our day in Tuscany starts at 09.15 and the first part of the day will be dedicated to enjoying the scenery of Chianti and taking a photo or two. Late morning we arrive at Monterinaldi winery, which is the top estate from my “Wine Lover's Tour.” We'll take a guided tour of the ancient underground cellars, and follow with a sit down tasting of the estate's award winning wines, a pleasant mix of dry reds (Chianti) a bolder Super Tuscan, and a dry Rosè.
We have a light lunch around 12.30 at my favorite restaurant, and I really mean my favorite restaurant, it's the one I go to with my wife when we visit area. Even though I work in Chianti almost every day, I still play the part of the tourist myself from time to time.
We follow lunch with our visit to the "Chianti Brew Fighters Brewery." The brewery is situated in a modern prefabricated building, and perhaps not what you'd expect after seeing ancient farmhouses and underground cellars all morning. But this is a new business and the guys didn't have the luck to inherit a five hundred year old castle. What counts is the beer...right?
Chianti Brew Fighters is a new brewery run by three school friends, namely Giulio, Stefano and Marco. The story stared in their younger days when they would go out for a beer, but soon the usual industrial products didn't satisfy their tastes. They were looking for better things, and though beer drinking was a passion, they were also very critical.
Consequently they turned their attention to craft beers and over time it became a quest, till one day they realized they wanted to brew their own. So they went back to school, taking technical classes in brewing and tasting, and qualified as master beer brewers and sommeliers.
They started producing beer from home and collaborating with a number of famous breweries and pubs in Italy. Then after a few years of experiments they felt ready to open their own brewery, and why not, in the heart of wine country where they all live.
The artisanal nature of the four beers produced, or as they should be called “Ales,” will strike you immediately. Each product is refermented in the bottle and the sediment isn’t filtered. Unlike bland industrial products, the flavor of each beer is very distinct, with dry citrus and herbaceous notes on the palate, and in the case of their stout, coffee and dark chocolate.
We return towards home after the tasting but we'll first take a short stop in the little town of Greve in Chianti. Drop of in Florence is about 05:15 pm.