In the Northern Italian town of Reggio Emilia, Arrogant Sour Festival has been celebrating funky beers since 2013. It’s been our third year of experiencing 60 different sour beers on tap, workshops, and the people who make up the sour family.
Reggio Emilia has a small classic northern Italian City center that’s one and a half hour train ride from Milan. It’s packed with small restaurants, gelato, and a lot of good options to stay overnight. For hardcore fans, you can even stay in the old monastery, Chiostro della Ghiara, where the festival is taking place. It’s natural that this books out fast and for those who like their sleep, it should be avoided due to the loud punk and metal bands that play late into the night. During our years attending, we’ve seen improvements in the open air atrium with more seating, shady spots, and this year grass instead of a dusty ground.
Every time we enter the old monastery’s atrium, we are astonished by the little oasis of green with its trees in the middle and the beauty of the red archways surrounding it. One whole length of the atrium is reserved for 60 taps of beer of 70 breweries from Europe, Northern America and Australia. Participating at the festival costs a 10 Euro cover fee and of course as many tokens you want to spend there. For 0.1 L of Lambic, Spontaneous, Saison, Fruit, Gose or Our Bruin you have to calculate between 2 and 5 Euro. Some special brews, though, can go for even more. A beer keg get changed once it’s sold out and note that some beers only last for some hours.
For a more in depth experience there are several workshops a day, ranging from the physiology of taste to beer and food pairing to home brewing sours. We did Cantillon’s forum last year, so we opted for a more exotic forum with beers from the USA and Australia this year. The price of 40 Euros for the workshop can be considered high, though we were given 8 tasters from well known breweries (de Garde, The Ale Apothecary, Jester King), each with a first hand description from the brewers themselves of how the beer is made, where, how and how long it’s stored and of course all the fine little nuances one should either smell or taste. The workshops are in English or Italian, and get simultaneously translated.
The beer from the taps are served by craft beer bar owners, brewmasters, and other representatives of the breweries showcased here. While ordering a beer there is also always the time for a quick chat or questions like what’s up with all the Kveik beers nowadays?
The bottle shop located at the festival offers a big variety of common and unique beers. We made sure to get an extra bottle of every beer we liked for home. Some beers are only offered in bottles and aren’t on tab at all, still we could have tasters from those in the bottle shop or share the whole chilled bottle with friends. A popular bottle that went fast each morning the festival began was Cantillon´s rare Vin Santo. Luckily we had a chance to get one, with many other bottles to hold us over till next years Arrogant Sour Festival.
The festival itself is organized by the owner of a local craft beer bar and he created a real El Dorado of the sour world. He is the father of a sour family which spans the whole world and mingles together every year. By attending the festival you become part of that family, too. There are not many other festivals which can give you that feeling of being so close to people who’s work you really appreciate and love.
Besten Dank für diesen Beitrag an Gastautor*innen Katie und Arnold. Für die Fotos gilt unser Dank Sander Luimes, auf instagram.com/beerfoodpairings findet ihr mehr von ihm!