In my second year of college, I wanted to expand my knowledge of beers beyond Miller Light and Beast (Milwaukee’s Best). During this golden age, I discovered craft brews from Magic Hat, Flying Fish, and international beers like Chimay. Discovering Belgian brews opened up an interesting question for me: does Italy make any decent beers?
My cousin brought Peroni to my attention and when I tried it, I enjoyed it, but I moved on to whatever new microbrew I could get my hands on the next week. A few years passed, I bought a house, got a beer fridge, and became the household chef. While I enjoy pairing wine with meals, beer is typically the beverage of choice while eating at La Casa De Lombardi.
Drinking beer with Italian food has always been a no-no for me. Italian food is filling enough without beer taking up any more space in my stomach. My wife and I took a trip to San Francisco a few years ago and while walking around Little Italy we happened upon a place called “The Stinking Rose”. It was lunchtime and I really didn’t want to drink wine, but I wanted a drink. Our waiter, who looked like Count Dracula, overheard the conversation and suggested a Peroni – I haven’t stopped drinking it.
Peroni is a pale lager that is about 4.7% abv. The Peroni brand was established in 1846, but their trademark “Nastro Azzurro (aka Blue Ribbon)” lager was introduced in 1963. The brand is considered to be the most widely recognized and consumed Italian beer. The beer has found success in other European countries such as England (#14 most drank beer in the UK).
I always assumed that Peroni was a moderately well known brand in America, but every time I serve it to guests, they ask “what is this?” which is usually followed by “this is pretty good!” – those reactions prompted me to do this write up. After cooking for several hours this Sunday afternoon (making my own take on a classic italian meatball), I am happy to compliment my efforts with the classic “Blue Ribbon”. Give it a shot the next time you are sucking down a can of spaghettios