Thornbridge's Italia was a beer that I'd been waiting for with particular interest; I'm a big fan of Lager - when done right, good Lager can be so good. But we don't get a lot of that good stuff over here. Italia (4.8%abv) is the result of a collaboration with Maurizio Folli of Birrificio Italiano; properly lagered, and is loaded with Hallertau Northern Brewer, Perle and Spalter Select hops.
But is it any good? I bought this the same weekend as Sharp's Monsieur Rock, but held off drinking them both in the same session - I feared they would be too alike. I was quite wrong - Italia is unashamedly Lager; Uber-Pale, good carbonation, and meant to be served chilled. There's the malty, biscuity backbone that I was hoping for; a creamy, malted-milk heart. On top of that there's Lime and Lemon, and I actually thought the Lime-zest nose got more intense as the pint wore on. It's citrus all the way, but not too sweet. I liked it a lot, but I don't think I could drink a lot of it - it's not a session beer; the flavours are too big. But that's not a bad thing.
In fact, it formed part of a very enjoyable meal - chunks of Coley, dredged in flour, paprika and pepper, deep fried until golden and served with a Garlic and Lime mayo. Perfect finger-food, and accompanied by a great, sharp, citrussy beer. Hang on - Lager. Watch out for it on keg at various pubs around the country.