While sours took a while to catch on with Italian beer drinkers, there have always been plenty of brewers making them, such as Panil, Black Barrel and Montegioco with almost all breweries having one or two. But Valter Loveriere, owner of Loverbeer, decided to take it all the way and adhere to the long-established traditions from Belgium. Not far from Grado Plato brewery in Torino, it didn’t seem to bother Valter that not too many people in Italy bought his product, but then, he’s never approached this market like others have.
In the beginning many breweries placed some style of lighter beer or amber into their repertoire to cater to the Italian palate and to appeal to the popular image of beer. The first brewers had to go out into the market and pioneer their beer culture. Valter has done none of this. Instead, Valter built his personal style, shared it with the top critics and then allowed his beers to slowly find their audience.
Valter’s passion came from a home brewing kit his wife gave him as a birthday gift. Valter methodically researched the Flemish and Belgium style beers he loved. He then redesigned them to meet his environment, taking advantage of the Piedmont Barolo and Barbera region to formulate Italian recipes using ingredients like grapes and plums for color and acidity.
After years of working his beers he felt he had reached a point where he was ready to take the next step. Networking through other home brewers in 2004 he found the Italian beer critic and writer Luca Giaccone and asked his opinion. Giaccone approved and suggested a few changes.
With a bag over his shoulders carrying a few of his beers, Valter approached Lorenzo Dabove, known as Kuaska, a writer and beer critic who has been the great flag bearer of the Italian movement, at an international festival and asked if he would mind having a taste. Kuaska has been the barometer for many Italian brewers, giving advice and helping them hone in their craft. Kuaska liked what Valter was doing and encouraged him to open his own brewery.
With Kuaska’s green light Valter was ready to take the plunge. Kuaska took Valter to Cantillon to help him advance his skills a little more. He also got Valter to attend the beer festival in Rimini, where Kuaska had created a special class for home brewers that year. The festival in Rimini is like our Great American Beer Festival in the United States. They began to promote his beers with connections to bloggers and people in the movement in Italy and throughout Europe.
In the following years, Valter offered eight styles to several crucial Italian publicans, publicans who understood beers. But Valter had also groomed his beers for exporting. His typical customers were important producers of craft beers themselves, people with sophisticated palates like Mikkeler. His beer filtered through places like Brew Dog in Scotland, the Briggiert in Norway eventually attracting the notice of BUnited, who’s been the biggest exporter and distributer of Italian beers.
Though Loverbeer is a small operation, producing only 286 barrels a year, Valter has managed to leave his imprint on the Italian movement and finally on the Italian consumer.