Beer Review: Peroni Nastro Azzurro

SO far, my look at beers from the Latin world hasn’t exactly been a stunning success. Sol, Damm Estrella, Corona Extra and Peroni, the cousin of today’s beer, veered between average and frustratingly disappointing. Desperados was ok, but cheated by being a French parody of a Mexican Tequilla tinged beer. So it is with low expectations I move on to Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro bottle

Exactly how different this one is to the Peroni I tried a couple of days ago, I’m looking forward to finding out. The look is utterly different. This mainstream looking green bottle is widely available from nearly every shop in the country. But green-ness and ubiquity is no guarantee of likeability. Eco-fundamentalist Tony Juniper for example.

A big wrap-around neck label is present again. But this one only has writing on the front. That’s because this bottle, unusually for a Mediterranean beer, has a back label.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro neck label

Like the Peroni of a couple of days ago, there’s nothing but Italian on the labels. This one has a neck label featuring a crest. The familiar year of 1846. And some writing saying something about this being the original beer of Italy and using natural ingredients. As is the way with non-English language labels, I need to the help of translators out there. If you can translate anything on this bottle, do please leave a message at the end of the post.

The main front label is again totally different to that other Peroni beer. The only familiar details are the 1846 year and Giovanni Peroni’s signature. Which is good to see, as it means we’re not dealing with some other company ripping-off the Peroni name. There are some banners around the top and bottom of this dull and mostly white coloured label. And those wavy banners have words such as “Tradizione”, “Naturalita” and “Superiore”. Nothing exciting there.

The back label doesn’t set the world alight either.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro front label

The main block of writing is in Italian. But that doesn’t matter. It’s good knowing that this beer is the “Itaniana numero uno”. The other words I’m not so sure about so, translators, you know what to do. My suspicion is that they say something about refreshment and Italian style. Even with my Officer Crabtree grasp of Italian, there’s little to impress.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro back label

It’s not all bad news though. The alcoholic volume in this 33cl bottle is 5.1%. That’s more than the other Peroni and more than most others from the Latin world. The ingredients are in English and they are “water, barley malt, corn and hop”. And it’s easier to see where this came from. And from whom. The brewer is S.p.A Birra Peroni. And they are from Roma. Somewhere also known as Rome. I don’t think it will catch on with the tourists.

Will Peroni Nastro Azzurro be any good? Will it be a lot like Peroni? Hopes are low, but we’ve come this far. Time to open the bottle.

The colour is a very pale yellow. And the head, which looks good at first, almost completely vanishes within a minute. Good thing I was brought up not to judge by appearances.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro poured into a glass

The smell does start to redeem it though. The blend of beer smells in the aroma is good. If generic.

And that carries over to the taste. The blend of tastes isn’t bad. It tastes of a blend of the ingredients that went into it. The malted barley, corn and hops come together to leave a taste of an indistinctive beer that has a light bitterness.

To its credit, there’s little about the taste that anyone can really complain about. It’s not very bitter at all and none of the flavours are strong enough to put anyone off. It’s also very light, refreshing and very easy to drink. It’s not at all gassy either. The quality of the ingredients is evident too.

But all that is faint praise. It’s hard to escape the fact that you feel as though you’re drinking water. The flavours are weak and unoriginal. There’s so little character, you’d be hard pressed to know if you were even drinking Peroni Nastro Azzuro if you weren’t drinking it from the bottle.

In conclusion then, Peroni Nastro Azzurro is well made, but indistinctive, weak and boring. If you end up drinking lots of this at a bar, you won’t mind much. Nor will your friends if you buy in a crate load for a party or a barbeque. But if it is taste and flavour you’re after, you’ll be disappointed.

Rating: 2.7

What can we conclude from my look at beers from the Latin world? That they are mostly bland and tasteless. Sure, they are mostly drinkable and refreshing. If you end up drinking them on a night out, you won’t complain too much. But if you’re buying for yourself, just don’t. There are so many better choices you could make. And they all originate from Northern Europe and Great Britain. Sorry North America, I haven’t tried enough of your beers to say anything yet. But I’m sure they’re not as bland as those I’ve tried over the last few days.

Recommendations? This one, Peroni Nastro Azzurro is one of the best. Damm Estrella was ok too. But that’s not saying much. Desperados was the joker in the pack, and, amazingly, the best of the bunch.

Where next? Yes, I know, there’s Brahma from Brazil and San Miguel from Spain. But I’ve tried each of those once before. They’re both lagers and they are both below average. If you want a review, simply read one of my other reviews of any below average lager. If you want a real review, leave a request in the comments and I’ll consider sacrificing an evening of my time to write one for you.

Have you tried Peroni Nastro Azzurro? Can you translate anything? What reputation does it have at home in Italy? And why when your wines are so fine do you make such rubbish beers?
If you can answer any of these questions, leave your opinions, translations, corrections, thoughts, ideas, recommendations and suggestions here.

UPDATE
SINCE posting this back in June 2008, it has gone on to become the most popular post on my blog! To celebrate, I’ve come back, in August 2009, to upgrade the photos and take another look. There must be something about Peroni Nastro-Azzurro that makes it so much more popular than the rest.

So what did I think of Peroni Nastro-Azzurro second time around? Maybe I was a tiny bit harsh first time. It is exceptionally easy to drink, especially when cold. There’s almost nothing about the taste to put you off. And it’s clean, crisp, quite refreshing and well made. That said, it’s still watery and taste is hard to find.

My new conclusion? I think it would be an outstanding curry beer, and I’ll happily enjoy a bottle or four at a trendy bar. There. If you feel slighted that someone on the Interwebs has a different opinion to your own, do please leave an impassioned comment below, highlighting the superiority of your opinion over mine.

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34 Responses to “Beer Review: Peroni Nastro Azzurro”

  1. John Says:

    All i have to say about this beer is, its alot better than most of the shite we get in this country. Stella is truely awlful and people who drink Foster should be shot!

  2. KevinGets Says:

    The head was white and foamy and did not go away too fast. The smell reminded me of American Bud. The taste was light and breezy, reminded me of a spring fling. This beer is for gents who live in SanFrancisco. This is not a real mans beer.

  3. a beer guy Says:

    you folks would not know a good beer if it hit u it you in the face, stop the american piss beer u drink and try and look beyond a ur nose and be a little bit more educated when u review a quality beer………

  4. Jo Says:

    correction, San Miguel Beer is from the Philippines and not Spain.

  5. mike Says:

    dumbasses. italy rules. peroni is the best…

  6. Mike P Says:

    Who ever wrote this review is a fool. How can you put Peroni in the same class as Corona aka Mexican Piss. He is wrong on all counts. This is a nice beer with good flavor that’s not too heavy.

  7. codza Says:

    this beer is the . it came to south africa a few years ago and only got to taste it now only to realise how lost i was!

  8. Franklin W. Jones Says:

    I just had a Peroni beer and broke out with hives. I looked up the ingredients on line and to my surprise, it contains “corn”. Learned years ago I’m allergic to corn especially high fructose corn syrup. Crap, I didn’t even know beer had corn in it !!!!

  9. stefano Says:

    Ok, here is the translation: Nastro Azzurro = Blue Ribbon, I guess it’s been given the name because of a higher quality than the normal Peroni lager (the one in the brown bottle). Azzurro (light blue) is also the colour of the national teams’ shirts.
    Back label: “PERONI NASTRO AZZURRO is the number one Italian premium beer. It’s got a refreshing and intense taste with an unmistakable Italian style.”
    I’m from Italy (moved to UK 5 yrs ago) and, despite I was used to drink mainly German beers back in Italy (loved Lowenbrau, a pilsner from Munich), now I mostly drink Nastro Azzurro in the house. The problem is that if you want a refreshing beer, British beer are not up to the expectations. Carling is awful. Other beers are quite bad too: Foster, Stella, Carlsberg (they’re not British but this is what you find in big pub chains). I quite like Kronenburg (French?) and Harp (Irish). In general ales are really good instead.
    When I tell my fellow nationals that Peroni is quite popular in Britain (especially amongst girls) they’re usually quite surprised. It was used to be the poor man’s beer, but since it has been bought by SABMiller (USA?) and it was one of the main sponsors of World Champion biker Valentino Rossi, it’s now quite trendy and well known.
    All in all it is my favourite lager at the moment.

  10. marcolino Says:

    i agree with some mike p, how can this idiot put peroni in the same class as corona, sol, etc. Peroni is in my opinion one of the greatest beers. I hope this guy reads the reviews, cuz he’s a moron.

  11. ALFRED LEONE Says:

    THE GUY WHO WROTE THE REVIEW SEEMED TO HAVE A STRONG BIAS AGAINST, SO CALLED “LATIN BEERS”.HE SOUNDS LIKE HE’S TALKING ABOUT “THE LATIN CHURCH”WITH THAT HAUGHTY NORTH EUROPEAN ATTITUDE.AND WHAT THE HELL LANGUAGE SHOULD BE ON AN ITALIAN BEER LABEL.ANGLO,GERMANIC,MAYBE CELTIC.AND OH YES IT HAD A BACK LABEL.UNUSUAL FOR A MEDITERANEAN BEER.THEY NO NOTHING ABOUT BEER.THE REVIEWER HAD HIS MIND MADE UP BEFORE HE EVEN TASTED THE BEER.IT’S NOT FROM THE NORTH ,IT MUST BE SHIT.STAY IN NORTHERN EUROPE AND DRINK YOUR GREAT NORTHERN EUROPEAN BEER WITH THAT SWILL YOU CALL FOOD! HOPEFULLY THE BEER WILL COVER THE TASTE.TA TA.

  12. conrad Says:

    Dumped other beers like Harp lager and Stella for this one. Stella has a coarse hop flavor which you either like or don’t and Harp is a little too bland. Peroni Blue Ribbon has a good balance of corn sweetness with the hops. It is way hoppier than say Budweiser or Corona. It compares favorably with south German regional beers (usually of only very local distribution) which are all malt.
    I have not found a decent classic lager in American craft beers. Is it a mental block with them, do they not have good enough process control or understanding, or what?
    At 5.1% ABV it has more of that ingredient that contributes to the balance and will carry more hop bitterness without seeming oppressive.
    The Italians don’t drink much beer, but with their track record for food and wine it makes sense that when they bother to make it they are careful to do it well.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    i ucing he ou upi peroni i be 12345678765434567654e345676543we456765468

  14. Tudval Says:

    Nastro Azzuro ia a great beer. My all time favorite was to this point Duvel, but it’s too strong for everyday beer. Peroni is like a lighter version of Duvel, just perfect. And it’s not watery at all. You want watery beer, try Buddington(which I also like btw). I’m talking premium beer, not piss.

  15. Dave Says:

    Nastro Azzuro is not going to set the world on fire (Little Creatures Pale Ale – yum) but as a refreshing beer at the end of a hot Sydney Saturday, I think it is excellent. As someone who prides themselves on a good beer I sometimes feel embarrassed by my fondness considering the negative reviews it often gets but, forget that, I’m not drinking it for anyone else! Thirsty and keen to put a few away? I think this beer is perfect for that.

  16. Tom Says:

    Definitely one of the best lagers i’ve tasted. They sell it in an Italian restaraunt near where I live and it is just the most delicious lager I can think of. A very distinctive taste which is almost like bread I guess, hard to describe. A lovely, refreshing beer, which also looks great and gets a 9 out of 10 from me!

  17. Rosario Says:

    I actually enjoyed your review until your update. It showed me that you did not take criticisms of your assessments lightly. Try not to take things too personal!

    Nastro Azzurro (Blue Ribbon) is the second citizen to Peroni in Italy. The beer is close to what you describe. On the label you will also see where the beer was brewed, in this case it was Padova. It is a novelty for anyone who is an Italophile for sure. I prefer Moretti to Peroni when drinking Italian beer. Neither are spectacular, but Italians are not big beer drinkers, so there is no need to push for more intersting quality other than to satiate international palates.

  18. Mike Says:

    Peroni Gran Riserva is a beer that is worth reviewing.

  19. Marianna Says:

    Hi I have been collecting point of boxes of peroni but i cannot get on the web page that tells me how many point i need to win some goods please let me know . Regards I love peroni beer i think is the best and i only drink peroni . many thanks.

  20. wgower@health.usf.edu Says:

    I had my first bottle in Naples on vacation. It was ice cold and smooth and complemented the pizza quite nicely. The taste is quite refreshing. I have served it at parties and have had nothing but positive responses. Of course everyone who is new to Nastro Assurro wants to know where they can purchase it.

  21. bgeddy Says:

    I love Peroni. It’s really refreshing and one of the best lagers available. Then again I also love Lowenbrau (blue label) and Stella Artois, but not as much, so maybe that discredits my opinions. Peroni is refreshing and crisp – if you haven’t tried it you should.

  22. Andy FIgueroa Says:

    Peroni is a good beer…Little smelly and bitter but tasty…I have also tried Castello another italian beer smells good not bitter very smooth and tasty if at all possible try this beer

  23. de:La Says:

    want to try the real tast of italian shizz?!?
    check these astonishing brewery:
    Birrificio Toccalmatto (all of their ales)
    Birrificio Italiano (tipo pils, amber shock)
    Birra del Borgo (Re Ale)
    Bad attitude brewery

    and that’s just a starting point….

  24. Peroni beer | Bangkoksightseeingguide Says:

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  25. Paul The Greatest Says:

    What sets the whole package off to me is your stunning woodchip wallpaper and Faux marble worktop ……………….. NICE, possibly spend more time decorating and renovating than tasting Beer, just a thought i would throw right at you

  26. Andrew Glencross of Perth WA Says:

    I’m a huge fan of Nastro Azzurro – “drinks” even better Ice Cold – just seems to make all the ingredients come together in a veritable beer lover’s aria!.

    Often can’t believe it’s a lager – tastes more like a pilsener to me.

    Coming from Australia though, with our notoriously malt all-the-way lagers(Carlton, Crown etc) it’s probably not surprising.

    Nastro Azzurro is so pleasantly blended I didn’t even know the corn was in there – the thing that puts me off Budweiser – apart from its sheer ordinariness – although Bud at its coldest – can surprise – becoming an almost likeable beer.

    I generally prefer a more hop driven beer, and NA although technically a lager has forced me to reappraise the style as a whole.

    So pleasing too that we can now buy the Italian original in Australia again, as opposed to the bland, Aussie water driven local knock-off.

    And don’t want to be too rude to the reviewer, because your heart’s obviously in the right place, but you don’t seem to know a great deal about your subject or have much of an appreciation of cultural differences. There’s nothing really that difficult to translate on the NA bottle – just common sense stuff….And I’m sure you’re still feeling queezy about saying San Miguel was from Spain and not the Philippines.

  27. hm Says:

    try moretti rossa if you find it in england or wherever you are, it’s very good but i dont know if it exists outside italy .

  28. The Gorp Says:

    I got drunk and hit a street light knocking out power to my city. The beer warden gave me a ticket and made me put the wires back together. It was vunderful.

  29. LordBrackley Says:

    What a poor review. Had your mind made up before you wrote it mate!

  30. Dee Says:

    Italian and “Latin” are very different. Why compare? Idiot.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    May be the maize. Peroni, Stella Artois both use maize (premium?) For me premium means quality, malted barley and hops. End of !! Think American Budweiser adds rice! If I want rice I’ll go for a Chinese or a curry.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    May be the maize. Peroni, Stella Artois both use maize (premium?) For me premium means quality, malted barley hops and local water. End of !! Think American Budweiser adds rice! If I want rice I’ll go for a Chinese or a curry.

  33. Maurizio Says:

    In Italy for Nastro Azzurro Peroni you must write “naturalità” and not “naturalita”.
    Best Regards.
    Maurizio

  34. sandringham sydney Says:

    Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

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