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Chicagoist Beer of the Week: Perennial Artisan Ales 'Hommel Bier'

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Sep 28, 2012 8:20PM

2012_9_28_Perennial.jpg We 've felt for a long time that there's a general lack of craft beer coming into our fair city by way of St. Louis and the rest of Missouri. Not to say that we expect great things out of St. Louis, but when you compare the suds to the south to the ones that are coming out of Wisconsin and Michigan, there's barely even a pulse.

That's why we were really happy to stop into Fountainhead this week and see the Perennial Hommel Bier on tap. Perennial Artisan Ales was founded just about a year ago by a guy who clocked hours at both Goose Island and Half Acre before heading back down I-55 to St. Louis to set up his own shop. The Hommel Bier is really dry, with a touch of perfume on the nose and a prevalent lemon zest note that's almost reminiscent of pine-sol, but in a good way. It's creamy on the palate up front, with bready malts that lay underneath some nice herbal, earthy hop tones which lend a tiny bite to the finish. All in all, this beer is very Belgian in character, but with a bit of American flare.

The label art for this beer itself is actually a clever little commentary. The word 'hommel' is derived from the Latin Humulus, which is the word for the plant genus in which hops reside, and it's also used in certain regions of Belgium to refer to the yearly crop. The confusing part about the word Hommel, though, is that it also happens to be the Flemish word for bumble-bee. This is why we see both hop cones and bumble-bees on the label.

The obvious choice of something to eat with this beer would be a bowl of mussels, but we'd also be happy to see it with some seared sea scallops, especially with some sort of fennel or root vegetable puree. We could even see this going with something like pesto, which would play off of the hop profile very nicely. You'd probably want to avoid anything too rich or heavy, as it could overpower the beer.

The Perennial Hommel Bier is brewed year-round, but due to their small production, you won't necessarily see it all the time. For now, you can find it on tap at Fountainhead, Owen & Engine, and Fatpour.