Pizza and Beer: The Simple Guide To Pairing

Pizza and beer pairing Picture by TheWanderingGormet.com

The right beer to go with your pizza is not hard to figure out. That doesn’t mean we can’t help each other get better at beer and pizza.

You don’t need me to tell you, but, Pizza and beer is a thing. Maybe the biggest thing in the genre of pairing beer with food, and pizza with… well, anything.

Beer and pizza, while they may be two of the greatest things in the world, take up valuable calorie real estate.

So it is essential these calories are used properly. We want the optimal experience.

A Simple Guide To Pizza and Beer

But, before we go further with this post, here is a quick infographic that craftbeer.com has created, to get you quickly into your perfect pairing:

Craft Beer and Pizza pairing

Alright, now get cheesier with me and keep reading…

Beer and pizza pairing is serious.

Don’t go into your eating and drinking all willy nilly. Stay focused while enjoying all the goodness and comfort that beer and pizza provides.

The thing to keep in mind is finding a balance.

If the pizza is mild, bland, basic, then you go big, flavorful and spicy, on the beer.

If your are gorging on spicy pizza, you get a beer that is simple and mellow.

Here are five basic pizza styles to match up with the proper beer:

CHEESE PIZZA: Red Ale.

Alternatives include Wheat Beer. Ambers. Pilsners. Pales are good in this situation as well.

This is the best use of a red beer. In fact, I really don’t care to have a red without pizza around. I feel like it is a style that needs pizza or needs something else.

A red ale is like salsa. I suppose it is fine on its own but I need something to eat with it to actually enjoy it.

Maybe the best known red out here on the West Coast is the Karl Straus Red Trolley Ale. Well, best know if you have ever gone to Disneyland: California Adventure, that is and found the Karl Strauss Beer Cart.

California Adventure Beer Truck
Image from LAist.com

A magical cart it is. Find a slice of cheese pizza in the park and you are all set.

PEPPERONI: IPA.

Almost everyone’s favorite beer style rules the day when it combines with this pizza style. Hoppier the better, is what I say. That’s why IPAs are the best of the best.

BUT, if you are getting real spicy with it, now is time for Brown Ales to come out. The American Brown Ale gets so little attention, it’s nice that it at least has this.

Again, pales can be used along with lagers. This is the time to experiment. It is the style of pizza meat eaters will come across most so that gives you many opportunities to try something new.

Pales come through well here too. At one time I would have said that you can always find a Sierra Pale Ale when out having pizza. But Sierra has lost handles over the years and you can’t count on that. Sad.

But again, IPAs, man. You can find one.

Oh yes, thanks reminding me, Robin, about Pizza Port Brewing.

Maybe the greatest marriage of a good indie brewer and good pizza. I think every respectable craft beer town has a place that joins pizza and beer in a delicious melty wedlock. But the San Diego area has achieved peak pizza & beer with Pizza Port.

COMBINATION PIZZA: Lager.

If you’re getting sausages, peppers, onions, these things will work well with a lager or a pilsner (which is kinda sorta the same thing but not… that’s for another post).

I would go for a hoppy lager, if at all possible because apparently, I can’t enjoy beer that is not hoppy. Sadly a hoppy lager can be hard to find, even in a taproom, let alone a pizza joint.

So yeah, a lager.

Right now Firestone Walker’s blandly titled “Lager” is a pretty available and solid choice. But these days, everyone seems to have a good local lager to pair with, like mine from Tioga Sequoia, “Zorro”:


VEGETARIAN PIZZA:
Kolsh.

This may be a difficult style to find while having pizza. If you’re at a place like Pizza Port you likely won’t have a problem. But it may be a struggle elsewhere.

There is a shot you’ll find Rogue’s Honey Kolsh or Uinta’s HooDoo, out and about though.

If you can’t find a proper Kolsh, a dry stout or porter is a good choice with your veggie. Sierra Nevada’s Stout or Porter is pretty readily available.

If you’re lucky enough to make a pilgrimage to Russian River, try their pizza with an OVL Stout and you’ll be doing just fine.

Picture by @auuuuudrey

I would like to be a vegetarian one day but my disdain for most vegetables prevents me. There is only so much cheese pizza one can take.

PINEAPPLE PIZZA: None.

Horrible! This is a horrible thing to do to a pizza! Chunks of slimy fruit on top of what would have been a perfectly good pizza? Disgusting.

There is no beer I can recommend for this style of pizza because I would not feel right doing it.

In fact, Pineapple On Pizza Guy, you should watch this video:

Craft Beer & Hot Pocket Pairings

Now that we have figured out the basics of pairing beer with pizza, let’s dive deeper. Get serious. Real.

In fact, this just might be the most important section of a post I write all year.

You’re having a Hot Pocket for lunch or for a sad efficient dinner. You have beer. But do you have the right beer to pair with the right Hot Pocket?

The easy news is, a Hot Pocket pairs with all beer.

Hell, you could probably have a sour or wild ale with a Hot Pocket and it would work.

While we are here, deep into “pizza” and beer, is there a better pairing for a Linefest, than pizza and beer? Nope. Have one delivered stright to your line and you’ll be the most popular beer nerd there.

Beer Pizza Dough: The Ultimate Pairing

How to make Beer Pizza Dough? I have no idea. But other people do. The Beeroness has a recipe you can check out below:

One Hour Rosemary Pizza Dough:
INGREDIENTS:
2 ½ cups bread flour
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
¾ cup wheat beer or pale ale
1/2 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, garlic
powder and rosemary.
2. Mix until combined. In a microwave safe bowl add the beer. Microwave on high for 20
seconds, test temperature with a cooking thermometer and repeat until temperature reaches
between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the flour has been
moistened, slowly add the salt and oil while the mixer is still running.
4. Turn speed to high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer
dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until
doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
5. Cook as desired.

Yeah I’m not doing all that. But have at it. It looks like you could use any beer for this dough … humm, I wonder what Milkshake IPA dough would taste like?…

Beer and Pizza: The Ultimate Infographic

In case the craftbeer.com one above wasn’t enough, I found this infographic over here to visually help with your pairing. It’s really big so get ready to be overwhelmed. You’ll have to zoom in to get a bigger look at it.

Beer and Pizza pairing

Told you it was big. Pretty much takes care of all your options there.

The reality is, we are not always going to be in a pizza place that has all of those options. But now, when we do find our selves in an awesome spot, whether that is Pizza Port or our kitchen, we know what to do.

Even if you just want a damn beer:

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