Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Quick Drink: Beer and Pizza

I can hear the beer nerds now. "Beer and pizza? That's the best you could do for an article on the greatness of beer and food pairings?" They will scream that beer is much more than just a foil for pizza and much more than just something to chug while watching the ball game. Beer is sophistication. Beer is how humankind survived when there was not an adequate water supply.  They would suggest trying an ultra hopped, smoked barley, green tea and raspberry infused lambic with a sauteed duck breast with kim chi Brussels sprouts.

In a way they would be correct.

But no pairing in the arena of food and beverage can beat beer and pizza, not even milk and chocolate chip cookies. A crisp yet chewy dough's faint yeastiness, the acidic vibrancy of marinara, the salty, creaminess of cheese, herbs, and myriad toppings are just tailored man for a quality beer. With pizza, I like a beer with more than a touch of hoppiness and a decent heft, but with enough bubbles to help scrub your mouth to prepare it for the next bite. Pale Ales and their sub genre, India Pale Ales offer this in spades. The immense hops of pale ales and IPAs bring both a welcome acidity and bitterness. Whereas sometimes sauvignon blanc is described as a squirt of lemon, an IPA to me is like biting into the rind of a lemon that has been cross bred with a pinecone, in a pleasant way. They are just heavy enough to remind you to take it easy without weighing you down. This is key in a pizza eating marathon. Some I have particularly enjoyed as of late are the Green Flash Brewing Co. West Coast IPA, the Southern Star Pine Belt Ale, and NOLA Brewing Co. Hopitoulas.

Grab some beers from the store, invite over the neighbors and friends and throw a pizza party. Its better than making your own kim chi Brussels sprouts.


Celeste said...

Pizza tease...tell me about the 'za!

Rene said...


Its coming. Lahey's dough + baking steel. Second time they have come out absolutely perfect. Writing a treatise currently on the home baked pizza arts.

Anonymous said...

I have found once you start drinking good IPAs it is really difficult to go back to normal beers as they seem to be missing that great hoppy character. Extra alcohol content is a bonus! Sierra Nevada Torpedo and Stone are my go to choices...both are reasonably priced. Only problem is I find IPAs can sometimes overpower the flavor of the food. Pizza, I agree makes a good foil...boiled seafood works as well.

Brian C said...

Enjoyed quite a few NOLA Hopitoulas (free, mind you) this weekend at the HFTC events. Absolutely. Outstanding.

Nora said...

Couple of places I think do a good job with both sides of the pairing: Ancora and Crescent Pie and Sausage. Midway also has a great beer selection, but I'm not a big deep dish fan

Phil P. said...

I would suggest also trying the dough recipe from Peter Rhinehart's Bread Baker's Apprentice using caputo tipo 00 flour for your dough.

Also get a BGE to cook the pizza and look into a Super peel.

Rene said...


I've played around with Rhinehart's dough, I find this one superior. Same with baking steel and oven vs. BGE. My problem with BGE is it is very difficult to keep that high heat going for multiple pizzas. When we do pizzas we tend to make about 4-8. After the first 2 or so, the heat on the BGE just starts to decrease rapidly.

Baking steel method, Im telling you is golden.

Phil P. said...

You find both the taste and texture of the Lahey dough better than Rhinehart variations?

I will have to try the different dough combinations and the Modernist cuisine baking steel oven method to compare. Looking forward to your post.

New to the BGE, so just starting to play around with pizza, but I believe there are some tricks to combat the temperature decrease you experienced.

BayouBeerSociety said...

HARD to beat anything by Green Flash