I crossed the river into the land of beer

Don’t get me wrong.  I heart Italian wine.  Right now I’m loving all the big, meaty reds.  When it warms up outside, I’ll be ready to return to the world of whites and start a hunt for my favorite prosecco.  (Not that I haven’t gotten a head start on that.)

But I do miss beer.  Specifically, hops-for-days beers that no beer connoisseur would describe as well-balanced.  Balance, pfft.  Why have balance when you can have MORE HOPS.

We did have some luck at Open Baladin last fall.  Now we embarked on a journey across the river in hunt of more beer.

When I say “crossed the river,” I do not mean the metaphorical river.  We actually walked across it.  I mean, on a bridge of course.  This one.

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This was our first foray into Trastevere, an area of the city where the “Romanest of Romans live” according to my sources.  Our first trip, but definitely not the last.

But first a quick Italian pronunciation guide so you don’t go around mispronouncing Trastevere for ages *cough cough* like I did.  Two rules should apply, but alas, an exception I do not yet understand tripped me up.

First, all pieces of words are pronounced in Italian.  This means there is no silent “e” at the end of a word.  Limone (lemon) is Lee-moh-neh.

Second, words are accented on the penultimate syllable.  Carrying through our example, you pronounce lemon, lee-MOH-neh.

Good so far?  So for Trastevere, a word that is literally beyond/across/over the Tevere (Tiber), you pronounce the “e” on the end to make it Tras-teh-ver-eh.

Looking at the penultimate syllable rule, you would think it would be Tras-teh-VER-eh.  But do not be fooled!!  It is Tras-TEH-ver-eh.  Alas, I can give you no explanation.  James even asked his Italian teacher, but she couldn’t give a reason.

Point of the story, I thought I was all “hey I know Italian grammar and I can pronounce words,” when actually I sounded like a dummy.  Learn from my mistake.  #dontsoundlikeadummy Tras-TEH-ver-eh.

Trastevere was very adorable, but we didn’t poke around much.  Our destination, Bir and Fud, was just a hop, skip, and jump from the river.  We walked in and found this sleek bar.  Ah, look at that row of glorious taps.  It wasn’t crazy crowded when we were there, but friends warned us you can’t walk through at all when it fills up.  I believe it.

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Behind the bar is a restaurant with tightly knit tables.  I was glad we had a reservation.

The beer list was not small, but not overwhelming either.  Plenty of Italian beers, but plenty that weren’t.  All beers, 5 euro.  I ordered a Spaceman from Brewfist and wondered if I might actually have a legitimate reason to call it a Spa-CHEM-inSee earlier pronunciation guide.  The beer was hoppy and delicious.

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To accompany the beer, we got garlic & pecorino chips and prosciutto & mozzarella.  All delicious, but I think my pores oozed garlic for a week.

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We split a pizza, which they conveniently pre-split for us.  I was glad we split.  That’s a big pizza.

For some reason, I was fascinated that James has a very methodical pizza cutting and eating technique.  For me, I usually just attack the thing with a fork and knife all willy-nilly.  Cut a random piece here, random piece there.  Pizza in mouth is the only goal.  I don’t think this will change if I eat 5000 more pizzas.  James, however, did a precision strike that you could tell was honed from practiced pizza eating.  It was sort of impressive to behold.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  The man does love pizza.  #pizzasurgeon

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If I had any knock against Bir & Fud, it would simply be that they seemed to be out of a lot of things.  We tried to order an appetizer from their specials list, something involving fried mozzarella and hot sauce.  Out.  For our second round of beer, we both struck out.  I don’t know if this is typical, and it wasn’t such a big deal because they had plenty of other great things to choose from, but we did seem to be hearing that they were out of things quite a bit.

After dinner, we went across the street to Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa, which my sources tell me translates to “But what did you come here for?” or “What the hell did you come here for?”  This was a cozy, wood-paneled hole in the wall with an impressive tap selection.  Beers were 6 euro to drink inside or 4 euro to drink outside in a plastic cup.  I chose an Italian IPA that was a little too balanced for my taste, but not bad.

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All in all, I considered it a most successful first foray across the river.  It felt like–for just a few hours at least–we were back with our people.  Beer people.  I’ll just have to console myself with incredible Italian wines that are a fraction of the cost of what you can get them for stateside.  Poor me.  (Winking angel face.)


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