So Different, so Italian
Among Italian craft brewers, two young men strike one’s imagination at first meeting: Agostino “the Bear,” and Teo, “the man who never sleeps.”
Agostino Arioli was born in Milano in 1965. His father was a biologist and researcher.
“I have been fond of beer since I was 15 years old. My dream was to become a brewer,” he says. At 19, he began to brew beer at home just for fun. “While I was studying agricultural sciences, I went on a trip in the Unites States and Canada. I discovered brewpubs and my life was changed,” he reveals.
“I have always been a great lover of bottom-fermented beers, so as a graduate, I trained in Germany at Gasthaus Brauerei Feierling in Freiburg and at Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht in Konstanz”, Agostino adds. Finally, with the help of his brother, Stefano, he opened his own brewpub, Birrificio Italiano, in April 1996. “The homebrewer turned professional brewer: my dream came true at last.”
In the first year, total production of Birrificio Italiano was around 250 hectoliters; in 2000, it will brew more than 700 hl.
Arioli’s wonderful, clean and well-run brewpub regularly hosts special events like foods cooked in beer or very interesting experimental tastings of his large range of beers, each one sampled with its separate wort or hop leaves or fruit juice.
“Everybody loves my ideas and my beers, but I am never totally satisfied,” he says.
I like this man, with his humbleness and his skillfulness. I expect more great beers of him. I have named him Agostino, “the Bear,” for his nature–reserved, not effusive, not impressed with presumptuous persons. If you are a sincere person, he will probably be a true friend of yours.
Matterino “Teo” Musso was born in Piozzo, a small village not far from Turin, in 1964. His father was a peasant. As a young boy, he was a nonconformist, shocking everybody with his tinted hair that changed color often. Living in a celebrated wine region, he decided to brew…beer.
“I was very lucky,” Teo explains, “because I had as teachers some of the best Belgian brewers like Christian Vanhaverbeke, technician of production at Chimay, Grimbergen and Achouffe breweries, and Jean-Louis Dits, the great master of Vapeur Brewery of Pipaix.
Back in Italy in 1986, he opened his pub, Le Baladin, the French name of an ancient minstrel. “I built my own plant with the help of Jean-Louis and Christian,” Teo said, “and I turned Le Baladin in a brewpub in 1996.” Total production of the first year was around 200 hl while in 2000, it will be around 700 hl.
“I have always had two great passions: music and beer,” he said. His brewpub is noted not only for high-quality beers but also for live concerts by artists coming from all over the world.
Teo is also a successful producer of CDs. “In 1994 I had very good critiques and congratulations, thanks to a live compilation recorded in my brewpub,” he proudly recalls.
Why do I call him “the man who never sleeps”? Easy answer. He is a businessman who sells his bottled beers on line or to the best beer shops, he organizes concerts, he hosts special events related to beer and, above all, he brews great beers. He has a very nice wife, a fantastic son and a wonderful daughter. When could he sleep?
Lorenzo Dabove is an expert on Belgian beers, specializing in the traditional lambic style. He is a member of CAMRA, a “permanent” member of BSF (Bières sans Frontières) and official taster for Unionbirrai.