Keeping it real … Real Ale
Brick Lane is one of my favourite parts of London, the area is soaked in history and character, which is why it is a perfect place for events such as Birra Moretti’s Gran Tour. Right toward the Shoreditch end of Brick Lane in the Brick Lane Yard Market place is a week-long festival held by Italian beer brand Birra Moretti. With Italian flavours at the forefront of the evening I was looking forward to trying some of the best Italian street food London has to offer. Finding the venue was a bit harder than I thought, head down to 93 Feet East and pull the first right once you past the venue, opposite the park you will find an entrance to the Gran Tour.
The setup is really nice, a huge double level bar on the left of the yard sits opposite a smaller bar for cans, all the different food vendours are then circled around the Brick Lane Yard Market space. Large tables fill the middle of the yard alongside lots of smaller tables and chairs giving people lots of sitting space in the shade, for further entertainment there is Foosball tables next to the DJ who was spinning some serious golden era Hip Hop bangers, that was much to my liking. In the corner is two masterclass areas, one of the art of making pasta with Cin Cin and the other is Forza Win and The London Log Co teaching everyone how to properly cook steak the Tuscan way.
What I really liked about this festival is that the food leads the way, it was advertised and set up so that the beer took a back seat. The food was centre point and the beer went alongside nicely. Nine of the best Italian street food vendours are featuring, including my favourite of the evening Wop, along with Etnacoffe, Arancini Brothers, EATaliamo, The Cooking Cooks and many more. There was even vegan options made by Just Fab from Hackney. The grilled salame di felino Wop were dishing out was so good, I need to keep an eye out for these guys and try and get that again, totally worth every penny charged! Arancini Brothers were serving up the best deep fried risotto balls I have had. There was so much to choose from, everything we ate was superb.
Personally as a beer geek I would give or take Birra Moretti L’Autentica, there is nothing wrong with it but doesn’t excite me. However, Le Regionali beer range, which is first being introduced to the UK at the Gran Tour, are very good, especially Siciliana. Le Regionali range all feature beers with typically local flavours inspired by different parts of Italy. Birra Moretti alla Toscana is a 5.5% lager with barely from Tuscany, which is very present in the flavour. It has a nutty aroma and I personally, in the finish, got slight hints of banana, cloves and coriander like you do with a Belgian Wit. Birra Moretti alla Siciliana was without doubt my favourite beer of the evening, it is slightly stronger ABV at 5.8% and has a lovely balanced orange and floral flavour. La Rossa was very popular among the people I was sitting among, La Rossa is a 7.2% beer award winning double malt bock. On the nose you could smell sweet caramel with hints of sour fermented cherries, flavour wise it was big on caramel and had a bitter finish, making it a fairly easy drinking bock especially for its ABV.
I love rolling pasta, I have a roller and although I have only used it a few times I find it so therapeutic making pasta. However, I always make a tonne of it, way too much! So it was great to take part in the pasta making masterclass with Cin Cin to learn how to properly use my machine. We made farfelle, the bow tie shaped pasta. It was good fun and we got to eat our masterpieces at the end of the class. Along with a lovely mascarpone cheese and mushroom sauce our farfelle pasta tasted incredible and I cannot wait to give this ago at home. Although I didn’t take part in the Tuscan butchery class all I heard around the tables was people talking about it was the best steak they had ever eaten.
The vibe was great in the yard, people were happily enjoying all the different flavours that was available and sharing food with each other. Birra Moretti provided enough beer to keep everyone hydrated throughout the hot London evening and even provided a beer geek like myself with something new to impress me. The event is running till Sunday 24th July and tickets for the masterclasses are still available (£15pp). It is free to walk in and have a look around, so get yourself down there and get a real taste of Italy in one of London’s most popular spots.
Address – Brick Lane Yard, Trumans Brewery, London, E1 5EG
Opening times – 11am till 10:30pm up till Sunday 24th July
Twitter – @MorettiUK
Website – Birra Moretti Gran Tour
More photos on my Instagram page – Matt_Chinnery
Disclaimer – I was invited to the VIP evening of Gran Tour, all my food, drink and the masterclass was free of charge, however, I do not think this changed my opinions, especially alla Siciliana which I really enjoyed. Due to the ownership of Birra Moretti, and how that would fit with my normal blog posts, I had to think hard about accepting the invite but because of the street food element and release of Le Regionali range of beers I decided to go.