Somewhere along our beer-heavy European road trip in April, possibly during a lock-in with Pier, Pierre and Jenlain at Moeder Lambic, we became aware of Arrogant Sour Festival – a too good to be true weekend of wild ales in a picturesque Northern Italian city called Reggio Emilia. It sounded fantastic but out of reach. However, fate intervened, as an old friend from London invited us to Milan that same weekend for his rooftop wedding (proof below!), which meant that all we had to do was get on a train towards Bologna to join the sour party!
And so that’s what we did, with a minor hangover from a night in the Navigli district. The world’s finest sour beer producers descended on the 400 year old Chiostri della Ghiara cloisters in Reggio Emilia, the superb setting for this 5th iteration of the festival. Unlike many oversubscribed beer festivals, the unticketed Arrogant Sour ran like clockwork. After exchanging euros for tokens, we went straight to the bar where the brewers themselves, from Belgium’s Cantillon to Oregon’s De Garde, were ready to pour us a beer from one of the 60 taps. A secluded bottle bar offered up sought after brews from the likes of Bokkereyder & Tommie Sjef Wild Ales, and there were regular talks and live music on the central stage. Non-beer fans (who invited them?) had a well stocked wine & spirits bar to keep them happy, and there was street food galore – pizza and gelato all day long! To top it all off, they showed the Champions League final to a sour crowd (sorry Juve fans), and kept the beer flowing late into the night. Beer festivals of the world, take note – this is how it’s done.
As promised, here’s a couple of snaps from our Milanese exploits the following day, including an outrageous sunset that almost stole the show after a week of extraordinary views around Italian lakes and the Dolomites. Ten days of picture-perfect travelling came to an end in style, with great friends and rooftop cocktails for company.