Beer and republics

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Today (2nd June) is Festa della Repubblica (Republic day) in Italy, so a national holiday. There has been many a quip about just how many public holidays the Italians seem to have, but they don’t really affect the work that either of us do so we don’t notice them so much.

Republic day seems as good a reason for a national holiday as any – it’s to mark the referendum that took place in 1946 to oust the monarchy and create a republican government. According to this site, Rome is the place to be to celebrate today. There seems to be a whole lot of nothing going on in Rovereto, despite Trentino being one of the regions to overwhelmingly vote in favour of a republic (thanks, Wikipedia).

We spent the weekend part of the long weekend at two beer festivals of sorts. The first, in Calliano was more a community festival with a few beers different from what you would normally get ( because normally at this type of festival you would be drinking wine). We arrived while it was still in its early stages, with a DJ rocking out to his own tunes but mostly playing to kids on their bikes, and left when the teenagers arrived with their assorted liquor. I would say that they ruined the image of Italians being sensible drinkers, but, as we had just learned that evening of the drinking practice of American college students known as a ‘vodka tampon’ (it’s exactly what it sounds like), that wouldn’t be true at all.

The second was a proper beer festival in Riva del Garda, featuring Italian craft beers. The craft beer scene here is new, and it feels a little out of place amongst the vineyards. The crowd was more bogan than hipster and very male dominated, which was also reflected in the artwork and tap decorations (read: naked ladies) of some of the stands. We left full of beer and fried food, which made the slow bus crawl home so much fun. I was interested to see plenty of the breweries selling ‘pacific ales’, made using New Zealand hops. There’s obviously a small market here that, if I knew anything about business or beer making, I would definitely exploit.

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