Saturday 9 January 2010

Beer of the Week- Jan 9 - Peroni Nastro Azzurro

500 mL can
Price: $ 2.50
Beer, ,
5.1% Alcohol/Vol.
Made in: Italy, Italy
By: Birra Peroni Industriale

Italy is better known for its wine than its beer and I must confess that I enjoy Italian wines but have never had an Italian beer.

That is until today.

This week I picked up a couple of cans of Peroni Nastro Azzurro, a lager produced in Rome.

The brewery was originally opened in Vigevano, a small town in Northern Italy by Francesco Peroni back in 1846. In 1864, he opened a second brewery in Rome. It operated as a small local brewery until the 50s when it went through rapid expansion. In the 90s, the company started shipping their beers world wide.

Nastro Azzuro was created back in 1963 and the name means Blue Ribbon which was the prize given to the ship that made the crossing of the Atlantic in the shortest time. This was won back in 1933 by the "SS Rex" which, naturally, was an Italian ship. Carlo Peroni named this beer after that event.

The SS Rex looked like an impressive cruise liner but in 1944 was sank by RAF bombers.

The beer lives on ... but the family brewery did not as it was bought out by SABMiller in 2005.

Peroni describes this beer as "not just a premium quality beer; it is a style icon – the new designer label from Italy." I was impressed, for the first time in my life, by the can itself. Beer cans are beer cans but this brand has a nice clean design and raised lettering on the label.

But enough about that because, in the end, taste is the thing.

The beer was much lighter than I expected, a very light yellow, maby a light straw colour with a white head that did not last but did leave nice lacings on the glass. There was a hoppiness to the aroma, which I did not expect. I admit I was expecting a run of the mill, major brand beer. I was wrong.

The beer starts with a crisp light taste but then the bitterness of the hops comes through and stays throughout the finish. This is a very nice enjoyable beer. This is a beer that will be visiting my fridge in the future.

Italy has a reputation for making great wines. Well, I had never heard of Peroni before but they make one great beer.

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