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Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Perennial Artisan Ales' Aria

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Oct 24, 2014 7:40PM

2014_10_24_aria.jpgThis week, we've found a wonderful beer to drink during autumn, as long as it decides to stick around for a while.

Aria is a Belgian-Style Ale fermented with Brettanomyces yeast from the good folks at Perennial Artisan Ales of St. Louis, Missouri. Brettanomyces is a cultivated wild yeast strain that usually imparts a little funkiness into a beer and also causes it to have very active carbonation. Both of those things definitely apply to the Aria, as it pours an orange hue into the glass with a frothy, cappuccino-like head and we pick up a tangy, earthy yeast profile on the nose immediately. On the palate, we're hit with a touch of malty sweetness up front but there's a hint of earthy hops in there to balance. That Belgian-style yeast strain takes center stage pretty quickly and brings notes of restrained tropical fruits like mango, tangy lemongrass and wild strawberries that linger long on the finish. At 7.2 percent alcohol content, Aria is a complex sipper that could give a lot of true Belgian beers a run for their money.

As delicious as Aria is on its own, a beer like this just begs for food like a Labrador retriever. Aria does make it easy on you, though, since it's ridiculously food friendly to the point where it's going to pair well with most things you put in front of it. There's enough acid and sweetness that it won't overpower a salad course, but it could also stand up to a roasted chicken especially if it came with a sauce that lent some richness to the dish. Smoked pork would be a no-brainer and we could even see this with a rack of lamb, especially if there was a mint or fruit jelly to accompany. This really is a pretty safe bet for a BYOB restaurant, especially if you're going to one of the more creative spots in town.

Aria is most likely found in a 750ml bottle, check to see where you can pick one up this weekend.