What Does Peroni Taste Like, And Is It Good?


Peroni’s flagship beer, Nastro Azzurro, is a European pale lager. It dates back to 1963 and is the Italian brewery’s competitor in the premium lager market. Peroni offers a mild, easy drinking experience, differentiated from other European lagers by its distinctive Mediterranean flavor profile.

Peroni has a distinctively malty flavor profile for a lager, with an overall clean, crisp drinking experience. It has a touch of sharpness, is not overly sweet, and has quite an up-front rush of carbonization on the tongue. Peroni is best enjoyed alongside a flavorsome, complex Italian meal. 

Peroni enjoys a strong commercial foothold throughout Europe, and you can often find it in bottles or on tap in Italian restaurants throughout the rest of the world, too. In this article, we’ll take you through the Peroni drinking experience, including the beer’s taste, appearance, and smell, as well as its brewing process and Peroni’s proud Italian history. Read on to become the Peroni maestro!

Flavor

Like many other premium European lagers, Peroni boasts a clear, crisp flavor profile. It has a sweetish Mediterranean malt prominence that you’d expect from an Italian beer, but overall this beer won’t offer too many surprises or heavy, aggressive flavors to drinkers more accustomed to American-style lagers.

The first sip of Peroni reveals a touch of floral hops on the front of the palate. This isn’t an overtly sweet taste but has a touch of herby, grassy flavor. This quickly gives way to a malty, rather than bready, sweetness as the beer washes over the back of the palate. It’s important to note that Peroni’s flavor profile, unlike many other lagers, isn’t particularly yeasty or bready. Imagine the smell of freshly cooked pasta: that’s closer to the malt flavor profile of a cold Peroni.

Peroni also has a touch of bitterness on the aftertaste, lingering long after the first sip has dissipated. This is easily overwhelmed by a bite into a slice of pizza or a steaming forkful of spaghetti and sauce, but it has more aftertaste than many similar European lagers. 

Peroni’s green bottle (more on that later) also has an effect on the beer’s flavor. Some drinkers report a “skunky”, acrid hop taste to Peroni that should not be part of the beer’s flavor profile. This is because beer, when exposed to sunlight, can become lightstruck. Exposure to UV radiation, such as that in sunlight, can cause hop oils in beer to change their flavor, affecting the beer’s overall bitterness. If your Peroni has an overly bitter or skunky taste, odds are it’s been lightstruck. To avoid this, it’s best to keep your Peroni Nastro Azzurro in a fridge without a glass window, minimizing the beer’s exposure to sunlight.

Mouthfeel

Peroni Nastro Azzurro offers a surprisingly forward amount of fizz upon the first sip. American drinkers who are accustomed to the relatively low body of domestic beers might be surprised by how much carbonization this lager has. Its level of crackle and fizz is close to that of a soda or effervescent mineral water. This fizz does not persist in the mouth for long, and the beer’s typically light, slightly slick, lager mouthfeel kicks in. Peroni Nastro Azzurro definitely has more character to its mouthfeel than many other lagers. 

Smell

Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s smell is very similar to its taste.

As this is not an overly complex beer, don’t expect much complexity in the aroma. Raising your Peroni glass to your nose offers some bright hop notes, complemented by a bit of runny honey sweetness. There are also some underlying malt notes, but not quite as much as is revealed by sipping the beer. 

As with Peroni’s taste, it can, when lightstruck, have a stronger, skunkier odor. If your Peroni has a strong, pungent smell, unfortunately, your beer has probably been exposed to too much sunlight. It should not have an overly bitter or skunky aroma.

Overall, Peroni’s taste delivers on the promise made by its smell: a mild, malty, slightly sweet profile.

Appearance

Peroni Nastro Azzurro poured into a glass, has the typical clear, light golden yellow color you’d expect from a European lager. 

It offers about a finger’s worth of white head, which slowly dissipates into the beer’s lively, bouncy effervescence. It leaves very little lacing on the glass.

Peroni in a glass looks like pretty much any other European lager. The beer’s standard packaging, a green bottle, is also in keeping with the style. Most other premium European lagers come in green bottles, such as Heineken and Carlsberg. The green bottle definitely gives Peroni the feeling of a premium imported beer when compared to the “silver bullet” cans that many domestic beers are sold in.

This comes across with the beer’s label, too, which features blue ribbons. This is, of course, the namesake of this beer, as “nastro azzurro” is Italian for “blue ribbon”. This, too, gives the feeling of a premium European beer. 

Why Does Peroni Taste Like This?

Peroni’s website cites several key ingredients in the production of their beer. Like many other features of Italian cuisine, Peroni Nastro Azzurro is made to exacting standards using precise local ingredients. This includes:

  • Nostrano dell’isola maize, grown in Lombardy
  • Soft water, tested daily by the master brewer
  • An Italian barley variant with “bigger, more regular grain kernels” to ensure consistent flavor
  • Two types of hops: bitter and aromatic

Peroni, as a lager, is bottom-fermented at cooler temperatures. 

Peroni History

The Peroni brewery was founded in 1846, when Francesco Peroni set up his first brewery in Vigevano, Ravia, Northern Italy. Much of the beer’s distinctive flavor and profile came from the brewery’s location, where the mild climate and clean, abundant glacial water spilling in from the Alps propelled the beer to enormous local success. 

A second brewery in Rome soon followed. After the second world war, as Italian society was rejuvenated and Italians began moving into the cities in earnest, Peroni started developing a “blue ribbon” lager to laud Italian achievements in fashion, design, and especially the Italian ocean liner SS Rex’s “blue ribband” award.

In 1963, Carlo Peroni, heir to the Peroni brewing empire, spearheaded the launch of Nastro Azzurro lager, a clear, refreshing beer intended for widespread export. Nastro Azzurro was branded using trendy Italian advertising features of the time, echoing the iconic advertising artwork of Campari and Aperol, solidifying the brand’s position as a premium European beer.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Alcohol Percentage and Calories

Peroni’s ABV is 5.1%, and it has about 150 calories per 12 oz bottle.

What to Eat with Peroni

Since Peroni is an Italian beer, it makes sense to enjoy this clean, crisp lager with a nice Italian meal. Unlike many Central European beers, Peroni’s flavor profile complements the bright, fresh flavors of Italian cuisine, especially that of the coastal regions.

Peroni would make an excellent accompaniment to a traditional rustic bruschetta; grilled bread rubbed with garlic butter and topped with olive oil, chopped tomato, salt, and pepper. The traditional Italian flavor combination of juicy, sweet tomatoes and salty, savory flavors goes great with Peroni’s clean and slightly sweet flavor.

You could similarly enjoy your Peroni with a classic pizza, like Margherita, or a simple dish of pasta tossed in tomato sauce. Peroni does not go quite as well with heavy, cheesy sauces.

It does, however, suit seafood and grilled, seasoned meats very well! It’s a great beer to enjoy with freshly cooked firm, white fish, or pan-seared tuna. 

What Do Other People Think?

It’s always worth looking at how others view a brew. Peroni Nastro Azzurro is one of the bestselling beers worldwide. In 2010, it was the thirteenth best-selling beer in the beer-loving United Kingdom. We scoured the internet for Peroni reviews, weighted them, and determined an average score in the table below.

PlatformPeroni Nastro Azzurro
BeerAdvocate5.64
Untappd6.32
RateBeer4.38
Drizly9.6
Influenster9
Average Score6.99

Peroni Nastro Azzurro clearly enjoys a broad spread of reviews, with most reviewers giving it a middle-of-the-range score, apart from Drizly and Influenster, where it enjoyed very high ratings of 9.6 and 9, respectively.

Most reviewers highlighted Peroni’s clean, crisp taste, premium feel, and lightness compared with some heavier European lagers. Positive reviewers tended to focus on Peroni’s pleasant flavor and easy drinkability and how well it paired with Italian foods. Other reviewers, however, were unimpressed with the beer’s “bland” flavor, “skunky” aroma, and pilsner-esque character. It should be noted that any “skunky” aroma likely arose from the Peroni bottle in question being lightstruck, as those who specified enjoying Peroni on tap did not report any pungent smell or skunked taste. 

Here’s what one Beeradvocate reviewer had to say:

Drank straight from the bottle.
You know what you’re getting with this one, and as long as you know that you’re good. Don’t expect much but a light, easy drinking Euro Lager. Order a large pie from Patsy’s and grab a 6 of Peroni and you’re good. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Also a very good summer quencher.”

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