I was recently in Italy to judge a beer competition, and though it was hard work I have to say it's not a bad way to earn a living. I was staying in Perugia, an amazing looking place with more history than you can shake a stick at.
The beer scene is altogether more modern though, and from the many beers I tasted I'd say inspiration is drawn from around the world.
A short walk from the city centre is a craft beer pub called Elfo. It's a great place with a good selection, and if a lot of the beers did tend towards grapefruit flavour that's not a bad thing. If such beers are now to be found everywhere then it's a step forward from when bland lagers were the only ubiquitous beers.
The competition was open to all breweries (there are over 700 now), and divided into three reigions of Italy, with top and bottom fermented categories. Ceramic plaques made in nearby Deruta were awarded to the winners.
This one was won by Birra Dell'Eremo, based in nearby Assisi. Drink their beers if you get the chance!
Interest in beer is definitely on the up in Italy, and when I popped in a supermarket there was a premium bottled beers section containing local and imported products. There was even a scotch ale from Tennents. It was nice to see a scotch ale made Scotland, rather than say, Belgium. Shame I've never seen it in Britain but interesting to see it in Italy.