The Best Craft Beers for Your Pizza (Slideshow)
September 5, 2013
Pairing your pizza with craft beer is the best idea in the history of well, beer and pizza
A traditional margherita pie obviously calls for an Italian beer, right? This pale lager works with a classic pizza pie because it’s more like a German pilsener, thanks to its light maltiness and just a hint of bitterness. A light pizza demands a light beer, similar in densities, says Kwiatkowski. After all, a light lager like a Peroni, or a pale lager like Lagunitas Pils or a Victory Prima Pils, with a cheese pizza is as about as American as the football game you’re watching.
Pizza Alla Vodka
What do you mean you haven’t been using vodka sauce for your pizza? Goodfella’s Pizza Alla Vodka uses mozzarella, peas, prosciutto, and sliced fresh cremini mushrooms, which is basically a bit of heaven in your mouth. A wheat beer, like a Blue Moon, works with this creamy sort of pizza. But what makes this pairing sing is Blue Moon’s sweeter, citrusy taste that complements the creamy, meaty goodness.
Meat and Vegetable Pizza
Goodfella’s Smokin’ Good Fella pizza is just as meaty and creamy as you want it to be. Made with a roasted pepper cream sauce, caramelized onions, red, green, and yellow peppers, fennel sausage, and flakes of rich pecorino cheese on top, you’ll find yourself delighted with the combo of meat and vegetables. With such a rich and flavorful pizza, you’ll want a big but well-balanced beer. It’s why Brooklyn Brewery’s lager, with just the right amount of maltiness and "beadiness," complements the richness of the pizza. But be warned: While the big flavors of the beer and pizza go hand in hand, you’ll find yourself full after just a slice or two — so pace yourself. A meaty and rich pizza would also go well with a bold IPA to cut the fattiness of the pizza (so long as it's not spicy, as bitter beers tend to increase capsaicin heat).
Obviously, there’ll be one or two vegetable lovers at your tailgate — so don’t leave them out of the fun. Goodfella’s has two riffs on a vegetable-centric pizza that are not the norm. There’s the pesto calamari pizza (granted, not for the vegetarians at the table), with sautéed calamari, fresh arugula, kalamata olives, roasted peppers, red onion, and fresh mozzarella. For such a salad-gourmet pizza, Kwiatkowski picked the Harpoon IPA; the hoppiness of the beer complements the saltiness from the olives and lets the sweet veggies shine, but still keeps the meal light. Other beers to consider: a pale ale, or a mild hefeweizen.
Veggie Pizza, Take #2
And for another take on the classic veggie pizza, the Vegetable Delight pizza is a mix of zucchini, broccoli, red onion, fresh roasted peppers, plum tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. For a vegetable-filled ‘za, picked the Magic Hat #9 brew, the "not quite" pale ale that’s bursting with hints of peach, apricot, and citrus. The complementary flavor profiles of the beer and pizza, not to mention the similar densities (at 5.1 percent ABV, #9 is on the lighter side) make it a match made in food heaven.
Don’t let wings have all the fun. Goodfella’s makes a Buffalo calamari pizza that’s an unexpected twist on your average box of pizza — and well, it’s awesome. To go with a Buffalo pizza (and perhaps the Buffalo wing dip on the snack table), try the Blue Point Toasted Lager or another malt-filled Vienna lager. The six different kinds of malts cut the spiciness and acidity of the Buffalo sauce but still match well with a thick crust. We're only drooling a little.