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Following the European Beer Trail: Oktoberfest to Sorrento

1422629_10100132833937746_1841149228_n-001To answer your question. Yes, Italians drink beer. It’s not a well-known pastime of Italy, however it is becoming more common. But before we get to Italy let me tell you about my beer adventure that led me to central Italy.


I started the trip in Munich in early October, where I met up with a few friends from Canada to experience our first Oktoberfest. We drank several litres of heavy German

beer over the course of 2 days. It took a heavy toll on

1454983_10100132834716186_1129268494_n our bodies, and 

we bade farewell to the city.


We hopped on a train south to ZÜrich, and eventually ended up in the quaint Swiss village of Interlaken, tucked into the Alps, beside a glacier-fed turquoise river. Our highlight was supposed to be taking the tram to the top of the Matterhorn and viewing a 360˚ panorama of the Alps.




1468629_10100132842765056_1000443785_n 1463388_10100132841657276_1810762894_n Unfortunately, we were there in mid October and it was foggy. We still wanted to experience the life of locals up on the mountain so we ascended on a tram up to mid-mountain to the village of Gimmelwald. We walked up a traverse through slanted farm fields, and heard many sheep running around, adding a nice peaceful ambience to our mountain walk.  

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We decided to lift our spirits at a cozy mountainside chalet overlooking the valley. The bartenders were in authentic Swiss girdles and dresses. We appreciated the friendliness of these local workers! The ladies recommended that we try the local beer called Rugenbrau, which is from the town of Interlaken.



This light lager was quite refreshing. It must have been the glacier-fed water they put in this beer. We were very satisfied after visiting this mountainside lodge tucked up in the fog overlooking a steep cliffside in the Alps. It was cozy and authentic, just what we were hoping for while in Switzerland.


We spent a few nights in Interlaken and enjoyed ample Rugenbrau. One night we partied with the Swiss army reserves. They were happy to meet some Canadians in their country.



Next, we hopped the train for Milan and Florence and mostly enjoyed wine and museums 

the next few days. When we got to Rome, we planned a day trip down to the Amalfi Coast. It was a prettye spontaneous decision, but one we will never forget.


We boarded an early train to Naples, and arrived in Sorrento around lunch time. We started walking around this scenic seaside town overlooking the Amalfi coast, but we soon needed to eat and walked into a very popular Italian restaurant. The place was packed full of local Italians. We must have chosen a good spot!


The server recommended that we should order a bottle of their local craft beer that the town called Birrificio Sorrento. The beer is bottled in a wine bottle, so we thought the server mistakenly gave us wine! However, inside it was beer. The best beer I had ever tasted. Why? It was fresh, aromatic, light, bubbly, soft, pure….it was everything you want in a beer. And it came from this small Italian town in central Italy. How could this be?



Sorrento is situated on a hilltop perch of the Amalfi coast peninsula. The Mediterranean climate consistently produces fresh vegetables and fruit throughout the year, making this a perfect location to experiment with different flavored beer. The local brewery trademark beer is a lager of epic proportions. It has a lemon zest to it. But it’s not overpowering.  It’s just perfect. The lemon fields are world-famous on the Amalfi Coast, and this brewery takes full advantage of this. The beer they make is simply heavenly. It needs to be imported to North America. We loved this beer so much, we bought two bottles for the road and brought them down to the ocean and enjoyed a lazy afternoon in the sun tanning way on the Mediterranean enjoying life pass by.


FollowTheLocal is a Canadian blogger who's at home in Vancouver when he's not, well, following the locals around the world. You can follow him at



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My curiosity is also piqued about this Italian beer.  Not sure if I tried beer in Italy.  Wine seems to be flowing out of ever crack in every building, but I'll need to give it a try next time I'm there.


Hi praise from a Canadian, I might add.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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