Turn left out of Open Baladin and walk to the end of the narrow cobbled street, then take another left and follow the street lined with high buildings and small shops to the bridge which is at the end. Cross the bridge, taking a few photos on either side, especially if you time it at dusk, and you’ll step off opposite some steps in a busy square lined with trees, scooters and new roads to go down. Choose the correct road off of here and you’ll find Bir & Fud.
Shuttered doors are open to show the Bir menu as the bar inside glows under a line of taps. Narrow, the space winds back passed the bar and gradually opens up into seating for the Fud side of things, past some beer fridges on the way. We arrive at 8pm on a Wednesday and it’s quiet except for a few young families and a few beer sippers at the bar. We take a table.
The beer menu is excellent and not overwhelming. Around 18 to choose from tap, all Italian, all listed by the brewery, beer name, style and strength, with some assumption that they’ve been hand-picked for their quality so you know you’re getting something good. The food list is equally simple and tasty-looking, although I didn’t get past the pizza page...
I started the night on Toccalmatto’s Stray Dog, a 4.7% bitter with an amber body and a tight creamy head. I chose it at 4.7% because I’d just had a 13.5% beer and didn’t want to pass out in my pizza. The beer was the best beer I drank all weekend, or at least the beer I’d want to drink most of – I loved it. A massive aroma of sweet and tangy citrus mixed with an intoxicating array of other fruit; bold and bitter but smooth and light, very fruity but never sweet. English-inspired with new world hops. A perfect beer.
Also a perfect beer for the pizza which was sitting in front of me. Bir & Fud is known for their pizzas. Big wood-fired domes, bubbling up in dark blisters, crisp at the edge, soft and chewy in the middle. Everywhere which sells great beer should also sell great pizza like this, I’ve decided.
Next beer was a Bi-Du Artigian Ale, a 6.2% strong bitter with that familiar and good-looking head rocking over the rim of the glass. Held in that head is a big US hop aroma which leads through to the taste – smooth and a little toasty then the hops jump out, fruity and bitter, some spiciness like you’d expect from English hops to meet the citrus of the Americans.
Then a Montegioco Garbagnina. A couple of years ago at GBBF my favourite beer was Montegioco’s Mammia, which was pulled straight from the barrel it aged in, so I wanted to try more from the brewery. Garbagnina is 6.5% and made with cherries and pours a hazy red under a thick ice cream foam. It’s like a Belgian blond, dry and a little spicy, but the cherries are there providing a background shading of fruit, with cheeky extra bursts every few sips.
|No, this isn't in focus...|
Getting itchy feet for what was opposite (more tomorrow...), we left after that beer, but we returned a couple of days later and sat at the busy bar in the evening where the staff constantly pass us carrying trays with glasses of different shapes and sizes filled with many different colours of beer (all glasses, by the way, are around 330ml in here). I ordered a Toccalmatto Zona Cesarini (because Stray Dog wasn’t pouring right, they said) and it was delicious. Big tropical aroma in this 6.8% IPA, loads of Citra-esque fruit, a squeeze of lime, a little floral and a lingering bitterness beneath the mango juice fruit. Lovely.
Then an Italiano B.I. Weizen with a bucket of home-fried crisps. Handsomely hazy, banana and spice start it off, the body is very clean and smooth with lots of delicious creamy banana, a little lemon and some vanilla, before a dry, crisp finish. Great with the crisps, although any beer would be great with those crisps. Not a style I drink much of but this was great. And then I got itchy feet again and headed opposite...
Bir & Fud rocks. Small, cosy, a great atmosphere and a simple but interesting and exciting beer list to drink from. Add fantastic pizza to that list and you aren’t far off beer heaven. More of a restaurant than a drinking hangout, it’s one to relax in, order food and work through the beer list. I loved it and would go back every week if I could.