It could be argued that some countries are better known for beer than others. Naturally, Germany and Belgium, as well as England and Ireland come to mind. Canadian and Mexican beer, as well as Japanese are available in smaller numbers. I've had French beer, Ethiopian beer, Armenian beer and a bad experience in college with China Light.
Here in the States, the only Italian beer that's readily available is Peroni, a light, European lager that's somewhat forgettable and not a great representative of the gastronomical wonderfulness that is Italian food and drink.
Fortunately, there's Birrificio Indipendente Elav, a brewery I'd never heard of until a friend gave me a few bottles including an IPA, a double IPA and an Imperial Stout – not at all like the mild lager I'm used to from Italian beers.
The first I reached for was No War, an IPA made with malted rye. It pours into a snifter glass as a hazy, dark gold with good carbonation. It's rated at 6.9% ABV, so the alcoholic content is on par with most other IPAs.
Brewed with Citra (fruity) and Willamette (floral aroma) hops, the beer has a nice aroma of both hops styles, which follows nicely into the main flavors of the beer including a lot of grapefruit. There's a mild sweetness from the malt, as well as some spice flavor from the rye. There's also a bitterness that seems to linger, and the beer has a very dry finish.
It's actually closer to what I'd consider a west coast-style American IPA, but with the dry finish, it's almost a hybrid of American and English pale ales.
Overall, it's a very good beer that I'd drink if I could get it here easily, as it seems to fit the profile of American tastes in big IPAs. I'm honestly curious how well it's received in its home country since most European beers aren't made in this style.
Definitely one to try if you can find it, and I'm excited to try the other two beers I have from them.
Want to see a review of the others? Let us know in the comments.