AFTER moving to a cold, rodent infested flat. And after going without an Internet connection for weeks on end, I’m back. The bottle of beer with the monumental task of cheering me up is this little bottle of Birra Moretti Imported from Italy. Remembering how lacklustre Peroni, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Castello Premium were, I’m expecting it to be competent and not much more.
The bottle doesn’t look bad. But then style was never the weak link with Italian beer. This stumpy brown glass bottle has the “Moretti” logo embossed around the shoulder.
The front of the neck label says pretty much everything you need to know. That it’s imported. That quality and tradition feature somewhere within, assuming that’s what “Qualità e Tradizione” mean. I’m also guessing that “Dal 1859” means “Est.” or “Since” 1859. And that’s not bad at all. Castello Premium didn’t give a date at all.
In case you were in any doubt about the origins of Birra Moretti, the wrap-around neck-label gives you an answer.
“Birra Italiana”. Even I can understand that. And I’ve never studied Italian.
The front of the front-label takes the approach of an illustration of a traditional countryman about to enjoy a big frothing glass of beer.
No points for originality. Bottles of beer all over the world have illustrations of jolly men about to enjoy a big, frothy glass. The thing is, this man doesn’t look jolly at all. In fact, he looks jolly miserable. As we all know, everyone in Italy is either a Communist or member of the Mafia. Since this miserable man is wearing a smart suit and hat, that must mean he’s just finished a hard day collecting money from local shopkeepers for the entirely legitimate protection operation which in no way obliges participation.
The rest of the front-label roundel is a bigger version of what’s on the neck-label. It’s all very tasteful and informative. It doesn’t stop there, however. Instead, it wraps around very slightly at either side. Why they didn’t just make the back label bigger is beyond me. Nevertheless, here’s the left-side of the front-label.
This side helpfully says, in English, “Imported from Italy”. Under that are lots of words I can’t understand. Therefore, I make plea to any Italians reading. If you can translate anything from the label, do please leave a comment at the end of this post.
Not all the words are a mystery though. “Heiniken Italia” must mean that this comes from the Italian branch of the Heineken mega-brewer. “Milano, Italy” must mean that it comes from Italy’s spectacular Northern city of Milan.
Over on the other side of the front label, and there are some more words that I can’t understand. What I can understand are this beer’s vital statistics. It has a perfectly respectable 4.6% volume, and it comes in the typical 33cl bottle size. It also has an Italian language list of ingredients. Some of which look familiar, others do not. Fortunately, the back label steps in to help.
I doesn’t have much. There’s an impenetrable block of multi-lingual text and a repeat of many of the details from the front. But, it does have an English language list of ingredients. And that list includes “water, malted barley, corn, hops”.
But, what will it be like? Will it be better than other Italian beer? What will it taste like? It’s time to find out.
Anyone hoping for a dark, frothing glass as in the front-label illustration will be disappointed. It’s just the most pale lager I’ve seen in a long time. And it’s lacking much in the way of froth. There’s a patchy layer of bubbles, but calling it a ‘head’ is a stretch.
Despite these drawbacks, it smells good. Not original. It has much the same smell as other good lagers. But that blend of malted barley and other ingredients in lager-ish proportions is just the right strength. Not so weak as to be almost invisible. And not too overpowering.
Of course, I’ve been here before. Smelling right is one thing. It’s how it tastes that matters. So let’s try this fridge cooled glass of Birra Moretti.
First couple of gulps, and first impressions are okay. It tastes the way most lager does. That is, it tastes of a blend of malted barley and other beer ingredients. No flavour. Then a smooth, gentle introduction of a mild lagery bitterness. Not so much a “bite”. More a nibble. A couple more sips confirms it. Birra Moretti is another competent, yet bland lager.
What is there to enjoy about Birra Moretti? If you like (or at least don’t mind) lager, then you’re in luck. There’s little to put you off it. There’s no unpleasant “bite” to the aftertaste. In fact, it’s one of the smoothest and gentlest out there. All of which make it easy to drink.
What of the downsides to Birra Moretti? Well, it is a lager. And that dooms you to flavour boredom. It doesn’t even attempt to push the boundaries within the confines of being a lager. And that doesn’t score it points of originality. It’s also on the gassy side.
Does it compare better than any other Italian bottled beers? No. They’re all okay.
How can I sum up this imported bottle of Birra Moretti? It’s a perfectly competent lager. When I visit Italy, I’ll happily drink this. But on a shop shelf next to considerably more interesting bottles, choose something better instead.
Have you tried Imported Birra Moretti? What did you think of it?
Can you translate anything on the labels?
Do please leave your translations, corrections, opinions, requests, recommendations and places to buy in the box below.