How to order beer in Italian with delicious, flowing vocabulary


Tinamaria Colaizzi

Italy is famous for its wide variety of excellent wines, but sometimes, all you need is a cold beer to quench your thirst!

Whether you’re having an aperitivo with friends, ordering a draft beer at a pizzeria, or hoping to buy a drink for someone at the pub, knowing how to talk about and order beer in Italian can be really helpful. And while Italy is firmly nestled in the “European wine belt”, Italian microbreweries and craft beer are becoming more and more common throughout our favorite peninsula.

In this article, we’ll go through vocabulary related to beer and practice useful phrases that will help you sound like an Italian beer expert with each sip. Andiamo!

Couple enjoying pizza and beer in Italian.

How to say beer in Italian

Before we can approach the Italian bartender with confidence, we need to study the basics. So, the first thing you should know is that “beer” in Italian is feminine, and takes the articles la or una.

  • beer - la birra
  • a beer - una birra
  • two beers - due birre

…and so on!

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to use the feminine indefinite article, una, which is like “a” or “an” in English. Basically, if you’re going to order a round for your friends at an Italian pub, knowing how to say “a beer” is more relevant than saying “the beer”!

Types of beer you can order in Italian

If you’re in a typical Italian bar or restaurant, you’ll probably come across one of these five popular Italian beers:

  • Peroni

  • Birra Moretti

  • Ichnusa

  • Birra Messina

  • Birra Menabrea

For the average beer drinker, these are all pretty similar when it comes to taste and quality. Even though their names are all different, they are all birre, so they’re all technically feminine! This means that you can use una when describing these specific types of beer.

You could say: Vorrei una bottiglia di Peroni, per favore. But you’d probably hear an Italian person just referencing the beer itself: Vorrei una Peroni, per favore.

Common colors and sizes

Although our table below will go into more detail, you should at least know three main categories of beer colors:

  • bionda / chiara (blonde / pale)
  • ambrata (amber)
  • scura (dark)

The most common sizes you’ll find on an Italian restaurant’s menu or beer list are:

  • una birra piccola (small, around 6 ounces), and
  • una birra media (medium, around 13 ounces)

Although pitchers of beer might be popular in the USA or northern European countries, you’re unlikely to find anything bigger than a birra media on Italian menus.

Keep in mind that in most places in Italy, you can order certain types of beer (like lager, pilsner, stout, and porter) without an Italian translation. In any case, you’ll see the most similar Italian translation for these types of beer on our table, too!

Later on, we’ll go through some examples of putting all of this together when ordering. For now, here’s a sneak peak of my go-to order: una bionda media alla spina, per favore!

English Italian Pronunciation IPA
Beer una birra oo-na bee-rah ˈuna ˈbirra
Draft beer una birra alla spina oo-na bee-rah ah-la spee-na ˈuna ˈbirra alla ˈspina
Bottled beer una birra in bottiglia oo-na bee-rah een boh-tee-lya ˈuna ˈbirra im botˈtiʎʎa
Lager una lager / una birra chiara / una bionda oo-na la-gher / oo-na bee-rah kya-rah / oo-na byon-dah ˈuna ladʒer | ˈuna ˈbirra ˈkjara | ˈuna ˈbjonda
Pilsner una pilsner / una pils / una birra chiara / una bionda oo-na pils-ner / oo-na pils / oo-na bee-rah kya-rah / oo-na byon-dah ˈuna pilzner | ˈuna pils | ˈuna ˈbirra ˈkjara | ˈuna ˈbjonda
Stout una stout / una birra scura oo-na stout / oo-na bee-rah skoo-rah ˈuna stout | ˈuna ˈbirra ˈskura
Porter una birra porter oo-na bee-rah por-ter ˈuna ˈbirra porter
Amber beer una birra ambrata oo-na bee-rah am-brah-tah ˈuna ˈbirra amˈbrata
Wheat beer una birra di frumento / una birra di grano oo-na bee-rah dee froo-men-toh / oo-na bee-rah dee grah-no ˈuna ˈbirra di fruˈmento | ˈuna ˈbirra di ˈɡrano
Ale / Pale Ale una birra chiara oo-na bee-rah kya-rah ˈuna ˈbirra ˈkjara
Sour ale una birra acida oo-na bee-rah ah-chee-dah ˈuna ˈbirra ˈatʃida
Red ale una birra rossa oo-na bee-rah ross-sah ˈuna ˈbirra ˈrossa
Craft beer una birra artigianale oo-na bee-rah are-tee-jah-nah-leh ˈuna ˈbirra artidʒaˈnale
India pale ale (IPA) una IPA oo-na ee-pah ˈuna ˈiˈpiˈa
Root beer una root beer / una birra alla radice oo-na root beer / oo-na bee-rah ah-lah ra-dee-che ˈuna root beer | ˈuna ˈbirra alla raˈditʃe
Gluten-free beer una birra senza glutine oo-na bee-rah sen-tsa gloo-tee-neh ˈuna ˈbirra ˈsɛntsa ˈɡlutine
Sweet beer una birra dolce oo-na bee-rah dole-che ˈuna ˈbirra ˈdoltʃe
Non-alcoholic beer una birra analcolica oo-na bee-rah an-al-kol-ee-ka ˈuna ˈbirra analˈkɔlika

How to describe beer in Italian

What’s better than ordering a beer in Italian? Describing the type of beer you want, of course! If you’re ready to impress your friends by chatting with the bartender about the flavor profiles of your malty beverage, this table is for you.

There are just two important things to remember:

  1. When describing the beer you want, the adjective will usually follow the noun.
  2. The adjective must agree with the gender of the noun (which in this case, is feminine!)

Imagine it’s a really hot day and all you want is an ice cold beer. Here’s what you could say:

Vorrei una birra ghiacciata, per favore! - I would like an ice cold beer, please!

Describe beer in Italian.

English Italian Pronunciation IPA
Delicious deliziosa/o deh-lee-syo-zah deh-lee-syo-zoh delitˈtsjoza delitˈtsjozo
Cold fredda/o fred-dah fred-doe ˈfredda ˈfreddo
Ice cold ghiacciata/o gya-cha-tah gya-cha-toe ɡjatˈtʃata ɡjatˈtʃato
Light leggera/o leh-jer-rah leh-jer-roe ledˈdʒɛra ledˈdʒɛro
Hoppy luppolata/o loo-poh-lah-tah loo-poh-lah-toe luppolata luppolato
Fresh fresca/o fres-ka fres-ko ˈfreska ˈfresko
Fruity fruttata/o froo-tah-tah froo-tah-toe frutˈtata frutˈtato
Malty maltata/o mal-tah-tah mal-tah-toe maltata maltato
Sour acida/o ah-chee-dah ah-chee-doe ˈatʃida ˈatʃido
Bitter amaricante ah-mar-ee-cahn-teh amariˈkante
Sharp tagliente ta-lee-en-teh taʎˈʎɛnte
Earthy terrosa/o teh-roe-sah teh-roe-so terˈroza terˈrozo
Spicy speziata/o spets-ya-tah spets-ya-toh spetˈtsjata spetˈtsjato
Citrusy agrumata/o ah-groo-mah-tah ah-groo-mah-toe aɡruˈmata aɡruˈmato
Floral floreale flow-reh-ah-leh floreˈale
Balanced equilibrata/o eh-kwil-ee-brah-tah eh-kwil-ee-brah-toe ekwiliˈbrata ekwiliˈbrato
Full-bodied corposa/o kor-poh-sah kor-poh-so korˈpoza korˈpozo
Dry secca/o sek-kah sek-koh ˈsekka ˈsekko

(Note: You would use the feminine version of these adjectives for birra, but we’ve also listed the masculine version for reference.)

How to order a beer in Italian

Here are some useful phrases you can use to invite someone out for a beer, order another round for the group, and even offer to pay for someone’s beer - among others!

Ordering a beer in Italian.

English Italian Pronunciation IPA
Wanna get a beer? Ti va una birra? tee vah oo-na bee-rah ti va ˈuna ˈbirra ‖
I would like a beer, please. Vorrei una birra, per favore. vor-ray oo-na bee-rah per fah-vo-reh vorrei̯ ˈuna ˈbirra | ˈper faˈvore
Can I buy you a beer? Posso offrirti una birra? poh-so off-ree-tee oo-na bee-rah ˈpɔsso ofˈfrirti ˈuna ˈbirra ‖
I need a beer! Ho bisogno di una birra! oh be-son-yo dee oo-na bee-rah ˈɔ bbiˈzoɲɲo di ˈuna ˈbirra ‖
Another beer, thanks! Un’altra birra, grazie! oon all-tra bee-rah grats-yeh unˈaltra ˈbirra | ˈɡrattsje ‖
I’ll get the next round! Prendo il prossimo giro! pren-doh il pross-ee-mo gee-roh ˈprendo il ˈprɔssimo ˈdʒiro ‖
I’d like to try an Italian beer. Vorrei provare una birra italiana. vor-ray oo-na bee-rah ee-tall-ya-na vorrei̯ proˈvare ˈuna ˈbirra itaˈljana ‖
What do you have on tap? Quale birre avete alla spina? kwa-leh bee-reh ah-veh-teh al-la spee-na ˈkwale ˈbirre aˈvete alla ˈspina ‖

A visit to the birrificio

Now that we’ve gone through all of the basics, it’s time to put everything together with a trip to an Italian birrificio (brewery). To do this, let’s look at three stages of a conversation between our friends, Marco and Lucia.

English Italian
M: What an awful day! I really need a beer.
L: Come on, let’s go to happy hour!
M: Che giornataccia! Ho proprio bisogno di una birra.
L: Dai, facciamo un aperitivo!

Marco and Lucia have arrived at a birrificio, but Lucia has no idea what type of beer to order since her usual drink is an Aperol Spritz. This is a perfect opportunity to ask the barista for a suggestion!

English Italian
L: What do you recommend?
B: What type of beer do you like?
L: I don’t know. Usually I like pale ales.
B: In that case, I’d say a Moretti! Draft or bottle?
L: Bottle, please.
L: Cosa mi consigli?
B: Che genere di birra preferisci?
L: Boh! Di solito mi piacciono le birre bionde.
B: Allora direi una Moretti! Alla spina o in bottiglia?
L: In bottiglia, per favore.

The bottles are getting emptier by the minute and Marco is hoping that Lucia will treat him to another beer. Dai, Lucia, he’s had a bad day, remember?

English Italian
M: Want another beer?
L:  It depends…who’s paying?
M: I’ll get this one, ok?
L:  Then, yes. Definitely!
M: Ti va un’altra birra?
L:  Dipende. Chi paga?
M: Offro io, ok?
L:  Allora, si. Molto volentieri!

Un altro giro, per favore!

Now that you have all of the basics to order a beer for yourself and your new Italian friends, the only thing left to do is keep the conversation flowing! Don’t forget to brush up on your Italian vocabulary and check out the other Italian online courses on our website. Cin cin!

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