One of the perks of working for my company is the Christmas party. Each year on a Friday early in December, they fly everyone to a European city where we embark on a bit of a bender, before flying us all back home on the Sunday afternoon. This year the destination was that well known mecca of beer, Venice.
Knowing that Italy has a predilection for fizzy piss water, just look at the bog standard Peroni, I hit ratebeer.com to see if they had any listed destinations. Much to my surprise, the utterly gorgeous tourist trap that is Venice had three listed destinations. Armed with the location of the three establishments, we headed out to see what was on offer.
After wandering aimlessly for a while, we cracked out Google Maps on my Palm Pre and found out what through the rain to the first location. Bar Al Carcan, is as described on its ratebeer.com page, it’s a cozy wee bar with six beers on tap and run by an ageing mentalist. There was no indication of any bottled beer, so we cracked into some Forst Premium, which is one of the worst excuses for a beer I’ve ever tasted.
For some reason we decided to have another beer in this place, I’m not really sure why. The mentalist old bloke behind the bar was doing massive air guitar to The Rolling Stones Paint It Black, which was distorting out of some ancient tape deck. When he wasn’t doing air guitar he was having a fag outside in the rain while trying to chat up passing women and entice firemen in for a beer.
Next up I had a Forst Sixtus Doppelbock and my mate had a Forst Heller Bock. Mine was dark, his wasn’t, they were both fizzy and sweet and not particular nice. So we decided to find some where to eat and headed off to find a restaurant. To cut a long and involved walk short, the restaurant was full, so we ended up in a Pizzeria that happened to have three different Hacker-Pschorr beers on tap. We both settled down outside to wait for a table with a hefe weisse and very nice it was too.
After the really nice pizza and not so nice fries, we decided to try and find Il Santo Bevitore, which the ratebeer.com page positions away on the top left of Venice. I can assure you that the location of this place on Google Maps is incorrect, as there is nothing but residential buildings in that area. After an hour of wandering around in ever widening circles, we decided to get out of the rain and have a beer in the first place we came to.
I can’t even remember the name of the place we ended up, but it did have a full size papier-mâché horse and rider next to the bar. We ordered the one beer they had on tap, which was some totally forgettable insipid piss water. By this time I didn’t really care, it was late and I was wet and sober, it could only have been worse if I’d fallen in a canal. We were both fed up with our inability to find Il Santo Bevitore, so we decided to head back to the hotel, of course that meant that we walked right past the place as it turned out to be just round the corner.
Why Google Maps thinks it’s where it thinks it is, I’ve no idea, but it’s not, it’s totally in a different place. Il Santo Bevitore is also a totally different kind of place, as they had Sharps Doom Bar on hand pump and McEwans Lager on tap, amongst other things. Two pints of Doom Bar were ordered and hungrily consumed, it was just a shame that the beer was just past it’s best, but you could tell that if it had been a few days earlier that it would have been a cracking pint.
We both decided that enough was enough and headed back through the rain to the hotel. Neither of us fancied trying to find the third pub, especially as Google Maps put it out on the edge and we didn’t fancy playing hunt the pub again.
We ended up back in Il Santo Bevitore on the Saturday as we happened to be wandering past. My mate fancied trying the Scottish & Newcastle Slalom lager, which was a hefty 9%. If you are wondering what this beer is, then I can tell you that it was tramp juice on draft, utterly, utterly horrible and an affront to cooking lager, never mind beer.
Saturday night was spent at the black tie dinner with a free bar, but the choice of beer was more fizzy piss water, so I had a few spirits and tumbled into bed at some ungodly hour. My mate, who’d drunk most of a bottle of Lagavulin, looked a tad worse for wear in the early afternoon as we were leaving, it has to be said.
All in all Venice is crap if you like your Ale, if you like cooking lager and tramp juice, you’re well served. Personally I’d head for Il Santo Bevitore, as they also has some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Brooklyn Lager along with a few other bottles.