Welcome to Lost in Fermentation! We wanted the first post of our brand new travel beer blog to be dedicated to the best craft beer in Milan, our hometown – where Margherita was born, and where we’ve lived together on and off for the past 10 years.
Over this decade, the craft beer scene in Milan has truly blossomed. In 2010, when we moved here, there were only a handful of microbreweries and craft beer bars in Milan. Now, you can find craft beer pretty much everywhere – to the extent that drinking craft beer has become one of the best things to do in Milan. That’s why it was really hard to narrow down this list of where to find the best craft beer in Milan to only 15 bars and microbreweries!
In this list, you’ll find both Milan microbreweries and craft beer bars. In some cases, beer is produced on site, in others beers served are made elsewhere – often in towns and villages around Lombardy.
So, without further ado, there you are – the 15 best bars and microbreweries for craft beer in Milan!
Best Microbreweries & Craft Beer Bars in Milan
1) Birrificio Lambrate
Via Adelchi, 5 – Via Camillo Golgi, 60
When we decided to begin this blog with an article about Milan craft beer, we just knew we had to start everything with Birrificio Lambrate. Not only is it one of the best microbreweries in the world, it’s also located in our neighborhood, and we have been going there for over a decade.
Over the years, we’ve seen Birrificio Lambrate grow from a tiny bar in a nondescript backstreet to a veritable craft beer powerhouse, with two bars and a brewery, all in the Lambrate neighborhood on the eastern part of Milan.
Birrificio Lambrate may have grown, but quality is as high as always. Our favorites are Gaina, a spicy IPA reminiscent of tropical fruit; Ghisa, a smoked Stout perfect on a chilly autumn evening, and American Magut, a citrussy Pilsner with the addition of American hops.
Also, don’t miss their specials – on leap years you’ll find 366, the best Dunkel I’ve ever had (and I have had loads!), and summer is the time for Dragoverde, an American Lager sometimes made with the addition of fresh hops.
The names of Birrificio Lambrate brews all come from words and expressions in Milanese dialect – for example, Gaina means chicken and it’s used to refer to drunk people, for their waddling gait reminiscent to that of chickens, and Dragoverde are the traditional green water fountains found all over Milan.
There are two locations of Birrificio Lambrate – we prefer the one on Via Golgi!
2) Birrificio La Ribalta
Via Cevedale, 3 – Via Zumbini, 6
You can sample the excellent brews of Birrificio La Ribalta in two venues around Milan – La Ribalta Bovisa, the original brewpub in the neighborhood of the same name north of the city center, and newly opened La Ribalta Barona in the southern part of the city.
La Ribalta Barona is worth a mention as it’s not just one of the best places to have a craft beer in Milan, it was established to become a catalyst for cultural development in the neighborhood. I just a place where you can go to eat or drink – the aim was to create a location for cultural and social initiatives, in collaboration with two local social cooperatives.
So, by drinking a craft beer or trying one of the cakes made by resident pastry chef Silvia, you’ll be supporting social and cultural initiatives in a disadvantaged part of Milan.
So, what craft beer should you pick at La Ribalta? If you’re an IPA person like yours truly, definitely get a Tetris, with a nice amber hue and a taste between caramel and tropical fruit. For something refreshing, opt for a Cevedale, a no-nonsense Pale Ale – whereas on a chilly winter’s day, there’s nothing better than a Bagheera, their very own fudgy, nutty Stout.
3) La Birrofila
Via Sant’Ampellio, 14
Another place that shouldn’t be missed if you’re looking for one of the best Milan microbreweries!
La Birrofila is tucked away in a quiet backstreet in Southern Milan, only about 10 minutes walk away from the next two breweries listed – so take note if you want to plan your very own Milan craft beer tour!
The tap room is bright and airy, with plenty of light flooding through from the glass door and a modern, industrial vibe – or you can sit in the small beer garden, very pleasant on a summer evening.
We opted for two IPAs (surprise surprise) – Ulahop, an American IPA also available gluten-free, and Strike, a British-style double IPA. We also got their Graz to take away (the one you can see on the featured pic on the top of this post), a Weiss with the traditional banana and clove aromas.
4) Fuorifusto Urban Brewery
Via Spaventa, 19
Located only about 10 minutes from the previous microbrewery, Fuorifusto is the Milan outpost of Birrificio I Tri Bagai, an artisanal brewery from Rozzano, a small town near Milan.
The atmosphere is always lively and friendly, and they also serve an excellent meat-based menu – the stinco (pork knuckle) looked delicious! In terms of beers, you can usually found four of their own beers on tap. One of the most popular is La Mia, an Italian Ale infused with hops grown in Tuscany by the brewers themselves.
Alternatively, opt for a Fuorigioco, their Italian Lager, or Fru-Fru, a mega fruity Hefeweizen loaded with banana. However, our favorite option was definitely Mahori, a Pacific APA with the addition of New Zealand hops.
5) Piccolo Birrificio Brioschi
Via Brioschi, 74
Piccolo Birrificio Brioschi is your friendly neighborhood microbrewery, with excellent craft beer, retro rock music playing round the clock, toilet walls decorated with vintage erotic comic books (I am not kidding!) and a whole bunch of regulars you always see chatting with the bartenders.
In terms of look and ambiance, this is more of a pub in the traditional sense of the term, and less of a hipster craft brewery. It’s a fun place to end your night, after having visited the two craft beer bars listed above – this one is just about exactly 5 minutes walk between the two.
If you’re hungry, you can also order from a menu including panini, burgers and platters, all made with quality bread and locally sourced ingredients. We sampled two of their brews – Grohl, their spicy Saison with a pleasant peppery nose, and Scott, a really excellent American Amber Ale.
6) The Wall Milano Isola
Via Carmagnola, 15
Let’s move to Isola, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Milan. Between street art and old Milanese homes, you’ll find The Wall, another great place for craft beer in Milan!
The Wall is the Milanese outpost of the microbrewery of the same name, with its headquarters in Venegono Inferiore, near Lake Maggiore. Inside, the decor is edgy and urban, with furniture made from reclaimed materials and graffiti decoration by artist Max Gatto, who also illustrates all the beer labels.
It’s hard to choose just one or two beers to have at The Wall – but if I really, really had to choose I would go for Firewitch, a high-fermentation American IPA with a deep orange color, and Kamaleon, a Rauchbier Helles Bock made with smoked barley malt.
You can also order food to go with your beers – on the menu, you’ll find a selection of pucce, crispy bread rolls from Puglia, stuffed with a variety of fillings.
7) La Buttiga Beer Room
Via Paolo Sarpi, 64 – Martesana/Via Melchiorre Gioia, 194
Similarly to The Wall above, the two La Buttiga Beer Rooms also serve beers from their namesake brewery, located near Piacenza.
The two bars couldn’t be more different – the Paolo Sarpi one is the smaller of the two, situated on the main pedestrian drag in Chinatown. The Martesana location sits along the least known of Milan’s three canals. This is the kind of place to head to for a sunset drink, or to while away those long summer nights.
Both bars also serve a selection of barbecued meat, marinated in their beer, and slow roasted. The Psycho ribs are my personal favourite!
If you don’t know what to order at La Buttiga, we recommend going for a Psycho Double IPA (yes, I’m partial to IPAs, I assume you’ve noticed by now!), with passion fruit and tropical aromas. It’s very heavy on the hops and it has an IBU of 99.8 – so you can expect some bitterness!
Another option is Sogno d’Oro, a rather more tame American Pale Ale with both English and American hops, with a flowery flavour between herbaceous and citrussy tones.
Via Solferino, 56
Baladin is one of Italy’s legendary independent artisanal breweries, producing quality brews since 1996. Their headquarters is near Cuneo, in the Piedmont region, and over the last two decades they’ve grown larger than all other breweries mentioned in this article, extending also beyond the Italian borders.
Nowadays, you’ll find a dozen Baladin bars and restaurants all over Italy, one in London, and even five Baladin resorts – including one in Essaouira and one in Zanzibar (sign me up, please).
Naturally, there’s also a Baladin Pub in Milan, right between the Corso Como and Brera nightlife districts. You’ll always find eight Baladin beers on tap, plus lots more available by the bottle, and a few guest labels.
If you don’t know what to order, we recommend Isaac, a refreshing Witbeer, or Rock’n Roll, a really good APA. If it’s available, don’t miss Wayan, a Saison with the addition of spices, herbs, and citrus zest.
9) Birrificio Italiano
Via Ferrante Aporti, 12
Birrificio Italiano is truly one of the OG microbreweries in Italy, brewing since 1996 in their flagship location not far from Lake Como.
In 2017, they opened a pub in Milan, not far from Stazione Centrale – you’ll find 10 taps, two pumps, and a vast selection of beers by the bottle.
We recommend trying their two flagship beers, Tipopils and Bibock – the former is one of the best Pilsner we’ve had this side of Germany, whereas the latter is a punchy, heady Bock, with apricot notes and a nutty, caramel aftertaste. IPA lovers will not be disappointed – their futuristic-named Asteroid 56013 is also a solid choice.
If you’re hungry, Birrificio Italiano also serves a selection of ‘cicchetti’, Venetian snacks traditionally served on a slice of bread, available behind the counter. There is also a full menu with Northern Italian specialties.
10) Pave Birra
Via Felice Casati, 24
This Milan craft beer bar is definitely the most instagrammable on this list! Pavè Birra is the hoppy offspring of the bakery of the same name, located just across the road.
You’ll find 12 taps with beers from Birrificio WAR, a great microbrewery with its headquarters just outside Milan, and a wide choice of bottles from Italy’s best artisanal breweries.
Our favorite brews were Zelda, an unusual amber Bitter with a taste halfway between biscuits and blood orange, and Helleboro, an excellent Blanche infused with yuzu and coriander.
The vibe is cool yet welcoming, with ‘Birra di Quartiere’ (neighborhood beer) painted on a wall – summarising what the place is all about. Those hungry can order a tasty hotdog to go with their beer, also available in a Beyond Meat version!
11) Birrificio Belgrano
Via Pacini, 66
This Italian-Argentinian brewpub in the heart of Città Studi is worth visiting if you’re looking for an unusual brew, in a place where you can enjoy a quiet conversation. Birrificio Belgrano is not the typical Milan craft beer bar that fills to the rafters at aperitivo time – you’ll find a few tables, and the vibe remains chilled all night long.
We’ve had all their beers, and although they may not be as flavorsome as other options described early in this article, they are all pretty good – especially their IPA Fuerte Apache, and Il Generale, a Blanche infused with orange zest and cardamom.
And if you get hungry? Well, the owner is Argentinean, so naturally you’ll find a selection of empanadas!
Via Friuli, 34
All the places included in this Milan craft beer guide so far were microbreweries, so let’s now have a look at some of my favorite craft beer bars! Besides IPA, I am very partial to sour beer – this is why I love visiting Lambiczoon, one of Milan’s first craft beer bars and the only one with a focus on Lambic beers.
In case you’ve never heard of Lambic before, it’s a type of beer from Belgium, made in open vats where wild yeast and bacteria initiate fermentation. Once fermentation begins, the beer is then left in barrels to age for up to three years.
As a result, Lambic beer has a distinctive sour taste – imagine it as a kind of beer version of sourdough bread. You’ll also often find it infused with fruit like peaches, cherries, or raspberries.
If this sounds like your jam, make sure you visit Lambiczoon, not far from Porta Romana. There’s always a great selection of beers on tap sourced from Italy and beyond, including some sour options. On top of that, you can also take your pick from dozens and dozens of Lambic by the bottle, some from really tiny (dare I say obscure?) breweries.
Lambiczoon is also a wonderful place for a meal, unlike many Milan craft beer bars, where the gastronomic offer is subpar at best. Their burgers are absolutely to die for – my favourite is the ‘Estrema Unzione’ with crispy guanciale and two different types of cheese.
13) Bere Buona Birra
Via Adige, 13
Also in the Porta Romana area, Bere Buona Birra is the kind of place to go to do exactly what the name suggests – drink good beer!
It’s not a craft beer bar per se, rather it’s a craft beer shop where you can also drink. You can take your pick from one of the hundreds of beers available on the shelves and fridges, or choose from one of the six rotating taps, sit down and enjoy.
Owner Filippo is a true beer connoisseur, and each and every label is personally sourced by him. If you don’t know what to order, he’ll be happy to guide you!
Bere Buona Birra doesn’t serve food, but you are welcome to bring your own food or order some from a restaurant nearby.
14) Impronta Birraia
Via Tucidide, 56
Impronta Birraia is a lively, friendly craft beer bar in a former industrial building, located in the offbeat neighborhood of Ortica, away from the center but really worth the trip.
There are 26 taps available, including a few options from Birrificio Hibu, an artisanal brewery from a small town north of Milan. We liked Vaitrà, an APA with plenty of American hops (note to brewer – if you’ll ever read this, please consider a label redesign!), and Avanti March, a spicy Saison with ginger and pink peppercorns.
Impronta Birraia is quite big, and the atmosphere is that of a busy neighborhood bar, especially when sport matches are shown on TV. Food reflects that – you’ll find burgers, ribs, grilled chicken, and a popular Sunday brunch for only €15.
15) Birrificio La Cruda
Via Stella, 3
I wasn’t sure whether or not to include this place, because it’s a real local gem! Birrificio La Cruda is a true microbrewery – it’s open only half of the week, beer is made on site, and available to taste in the taproom right next door.
The owner is a real connoisseur, and he also offers short tours that conclude with a flight of four beers. Otherwise, a beer is only €3.50 – which is an excuse to definitely have more than one!
We enjoyed Santeria, a Golden Ale, and Brujita, an excellent red beer. All beers produced at La Cruda are unpasteurized, as the name (cruda, meaning ‘raw’ suggests) – definitely worth the detour!