The final of the Big Four Roman beer bars is Brasserie 4:20. You’ve walked across the bridge from Open Baladin to Bir & Fud and you’ve then crossed the bustling cobbled street to Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa, all within 10 minutes of each other. 4:20 is another short walk, hugging the Tiber as you head south through Trastevere.
It’s located in a railway arch with a line of kegs and scooters outside as noticeable as the cool neon green sign. A hole in the wall with dark wood floors and stone walls, the bar takes up the left hand side and food and drink takes up the right, with two giant blackboards listing the offerings. All around are hops and bottles, funky jazz plays, green lights glow at either end, extending the electric entrance inside.
The beer list is, like Ma Che Siete Venuit a Fa, mostly imports. The cask list would instantly make it my favourite pub, if I lived nearby: DarkStar, Moor, Gadds, Boon. The keg list would make me travel a long way to get to it: Mikkeller, Southern Tier, Pizza Port, Nogne.
There were two Italian beers on tap, both by Revelation Cat, which is the brewery attached to the pub (attached in spirit; it’s a gypsy brewery). West Coast IPA and West Coast DIPA were the choices (possibly brewed at Gadds?) so I started on the IPA at 6.5%: Super fruity and bursting uncontrolled out of the glass, a tangy body of malt and sticky hops; citrus mango and pine; not a kill-your-tastebuds bitterness which makes it easy to drink. Nice.
We chose dinner from the menu which was patiently explained and translated by one of the staff in much-appreciated English. All the dishes feature beer in some way, which I like a lot, and they focus on fish, which not many other places do. I had a bowl of crab fettuccine made with a dubbel which enriched a light tomato-based sauce and it was perfect apart from the fact that I wanted another few bowls after as it was so good. Also on the menu were home-smoked ribs which looked amazing. If you go then make sure you eat.
We had a Tiramistout (tiramisu make with stout) for dessert and it was fantastic. I ordered a Pizza Port Z-Man Stout to go with it which had a handsome cappuccino head and was smooth and rich with chocolate, nuts, sweet coffee and cocoa. It was a great stout but slightly overpowered by the dessert (which I think was made with Nogne Imperial Stout) so better alone than with the food.
The Revelation Cat DIPA came next, arriving in a pint glass, and for something over 9% that scared me a bit... It had a similar aroma to the IPA and in many ways was an intensified version of the IPA: intense mango, pithy citrus, dry and piney, booze and bitterness. It’s a big beer and a whole pint became a challenge – a half would’ve been great. Needing something to recover with before rushing for the last train I had the cask Boon Lambic Foeder #10, a sharply sour but really refreshing bite of Belgium.
Brasserie 4:20 is another very cool Italian beer bar. The food is really delicious, the beer list is excellent and it’s got a fantastic atmosphere, especially the roof terrace upstairs. For me, on a Roman beer expedition, I wanted more Italian beers, but take me back there tomorrow and I’ll happily work my way through everything on the exciting beer list (especially as I rarely see casks of Moor and Gadds near me). 4:20 is another place, like Ma Che Siete Venuit a Fa, for proper drinking; it’s a bar you could spend all night in and never get bored.