Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea... Let's go to an Italian real ale festival!
Now in its third year, Londinium Cask Festival took place at Treefolks Public House in Rome, Italy, between the 2nd - 5th of March 2023. A celebration of the British art of cask-conditioning beer, with just over 40 ales on offer from both English and Italian breweries. As Hadrian Border exported three beers to be enjoyed over the weekend - Grainger Ale, Northumbrian Gold and Ouseburn Porter, we sent over two representatives (co-owner, Andy and marketing/designer, Dom) to check it out...
Arriving at the festival on Friday afternoon, Andy and Dom were made to feel very welcome by all of the staff, and after a quick exchange of goodies, we picked up our specially designed pint glasses and got straight into sampling some beer, starting with one of our own of course... It's enlightening to see how cask ale is being enjoyed on the continent, and judging by the expressions of delight and the occasional "bellissimo!", it's going down a treat. The beers were in surprisingly good condition considering they had travelled so far and there were some great Italian offerings from breweries in and around Rome, who have adopted our brewing methods, and in most cases perfected them.
The recently refurbished Treefolks itself is a wonderful ode to the British boozer, beautifully decorated with the stylings of a 1920's inspired gastro pub. There's also plenty of choice with 12 hand pulls on the bar and an extensive whisky selection. It was quite easy to forget that we were in fact in Italy and not sat in a pub in Newcastle. We even got to enjoy some very tasty fish and chips. We discovered that the owners had been inspired to open an English-style pub after travelling to several beer festivals in the UK over the years, and falling in love with real ale.
Of course, we didn't spend the entire weekend JUST drinking beer, and took in some of Rome's most iconic landmarks and explored its elegant streets, along with eating lots of carbs! With our brewery being named after the border created by the Roman Emperor Hadrian when he commissioned his wall, it was interesting to spend time in this great city that is steeped in ancient history, taking in its many ruins, sculptures and buildings.
Andy said: "It was a perfect weekend to visit Rome with two gloriously sunny days and the temperature in the high teens. Just right to walk around the city, looking at all the places you’ve grown up reading about. The advantage to this trip was the anticipation of a well-earned pint (or two) of cask-conditioned beer at the end of a day’s sightseeing. Indeed, our google maps showed we walked 12 miles on the Saturday before imbibing. Treefolk’s Public House is in the pleasant Trastevere neighbourhood and not a bad part to stay in too. Plenty of restaurants and bars if you feel the need to move on from Treefolk’s. But you probably won’t want to. Our hotel was a 3-star establishment which was excellent value for money, The B & B Roma Hotel, a mere 4 minute walk from Treefolk’s. Clean, very reasonably priced and comfortable."
We wish Treefolks every success in its continued mission to bring cask ale to the drinkers of Rome and hope that the great British brewing tradition of cask conditioning continues to grow in popularity across Europe, and perhaps more importantly, back here in Blighty where it all began.
🍺 Andy's beer of the festival – Chocolate Porter by Birra Perugia (Umbria, Italy)
🍺 Dom's beer of the festival - Gallagher Stout by Hilltop Brewery (Rome, Italy)