The Early Word: Provini for Italian Beer
Provini, a new Italian restaurant in Park Slope (opened by the owners of Bar Toto and Bar Tano), serves standards with a Roman focus, like bucatini alla amatriciana (hollow spaghetti in a tomato, onion, and guanciale sauce). But the real draw is the Italian craft beer list.
Re Ale from Birra del Borgo
Artisanal beer-making has bloomed mainly in Northern Italy, and although many of the breweries got their start around the 1990s, the beers are not widely available in the United States. Italian brewers approach beer like wine, crafting them to be drunk with food, and have a liberal and creative hand with herbs and spices.
Provini has a respectable list of a half-dozen or so hard-to-find bottles, from breweries like Birrificio Italiano. A pale ale from Birra del Borgo called Re Ale is expensive at $14 (the bottle is a bit bigger than an American pint), but worth a try--aromatic, with an appetizing balance of sweet malt and bitter hops.
A bonus: The Italian bartender is chatty, and happy to talk to you about beer or wine, and dole out samples until you find what you like.
1302 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn