Italy has long been the friend of both food fanciers and wine worshippers. Yet despite this, it is also a country that is viewed with suspicion by the beer-guzzling masses beyond its borders. Beer, you see, is the world's most popular alcoholic drink, and it stirs strong rivalries among many of the biggest brewing nations. England is famous for its bitter, Ireland its stout, Germany its pilsner, Belgium its blonde beers, Australia its lager and America its innovative microbrews. These countries-and many more-claim to brew the best beers around, each boasting styles, ingredients, trends and tastes they believe no others can match.