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Friday, May 6, 2011

Peroni Nastro Azzurra Birra Superiore

While Spring is taking its time settling in Southern Oregon, Northern California is quickly welcoming summer, with temperatures already breaking 90 degrees.  I joined my mother and brother in a farm-to-fork, locally owned, slow food movement focused walking food and history tour in mid-town Sacramento today, and after a couple of hours and a couple of miles in the mid-day heat I was ready for something refreshing and not too boozy.  Enter a fantastic, family owned Italian deli and a bottle of Peroni Nastro Azzurro Birra Superiore. 

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Birra Superiore was a transparent, weak yellow un the bottle, violently carbonated with a spritzy head.  CO2 carbonation dominated the nose with a slight minerality, although a wimpy sweet malt could be detected.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Birra Superiore opened with a carbonated, mineral start.  Light wheat and wet straw notes were detectable, but the whole experience was mostly characterized by little more than sparkling water.

All things are luminescent in their intended context, and there isn't a beer I am aware of that would have been a better pairing with light exercise, lightly sautéed sage and veggie ravioli, and a blazing sun.  The complete lack of hops and a dominant effervescent minerality made for an incredibly thirst-quenching, if two-dimensional tasting.

After the walking tour, we poured into Pyramid Brewing's Sacramento Ale House for a flight, consisting of Outrageous Apricot Ale, Spring Seasonal Curve Ball Blonde Ale, Haywire Hefeweizen, Thunderhead IPA, and the pub house exclusives Crystal Wheat, Alehouse Amber, Draught Pale Ale, and Brewer's handles Livewire Imperial Hefeweizen and Uproar Imperial Red Ale. 

I'm sure I will have the opportunity to give Pyramid's standard line proper tasting consideration, but here are some brief thoughts on the ale house exclusive ales-

Pyramid Crystal Wheat- The hops and wheat flavors were a bit more pronounced than the Haywire, with the yeast stepping to the side and the body and carbonation just a bit crisper.  Of course, the color was beautifully clear.

Pyramid Alehouse Amber Ale- The malt profile was a bready wheat bomb with an almost smoky quality.  The hops were only present enough to lighten the malt, and the ale ended on a dry, pizza-crust extended fade.  Pyramid Alehouse Amber Ale was far from a bad ale, but didn't do anything that dozens of other low-cost ambers do.

Pyramid Draught Pale Ale- Poured from draught, the pale ale was extremely creamy in body, with lemon and citrus notes cutting through. Draught Pale Ale, like many lighter ales relying on hops as a core component of body served on draught, came off flat.  Good, not great, but I can't think of a time where this would be preferable to a bottle or regular tap. 

Pyramid Livewire Imperial Hefeweizen- Having never had an Imperial Hefeweizen, I was caught off-guard by the much larger malt profile and pinier hopping.  Livewire tasted closer to a pale ale with a hint of wheat than a big hefeweizen.  
Pyramid Uproar Imperial Red Ale- Uproar Imperial Red opened on a well-balanced pine note that quickly settled into a semi-dry biscuit malt that balanced the beer rather than overwhelming the hops.  Although less complex than many takes on the Imperial Red I have tried, Uproar was the standout of the ale house exclusive taps. 

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