Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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.