Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like beer and pizza. Even the world’s snobbiest foodies will acknowledge a slice and a brew go together. But that doesn’t mean they put their taste aside for pizza and beer parties. With discerning tastes and food knowledge, you can make this delicious pair taste even better.
As beverage director of Barano—a modern Italian eatery churning out wood-fired pizzas in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge—Jason White is an unimpeachable authority on how pizza and beer complement each other.
“Pizza has an outstanding amount of sweet, savory, spicy, umami and light bitter notes,” White says. “Beer, having carbonation, can tease certain elements out of the dish and has much fewer boundaries in comparison to wines on the current mass market. The addition of hops, fruit and heavier roasting of the grains and malts all can make a huge difference when chomping down on your favorite slice.”
Here’s how to up your pie and pitcher game:
“This is one of my favorite classics, and it screams for a light, refreshing beer. One of our favorite go-to’s is a pilsner from Burial Beer Company called Shadowclock. With light notes of lemon from hops backing the more mineral-wrapped acidity in the beer, it makes a great pairing for this easy-going pizza.“
“This spicy, savory and sweet pizza goes well with a range of beers, from APAs to IPAs, IIPAs, dark or ‘black’ lagers and porters. One of our favorite choices is Mikkeller’s Black IPA—hopped with Mosaic and on a foundation of roasted sweet notes, it makes for one adventurous and rewarding pairing.”
“Whether you’re having button mushrooms or wild mushrooms, the earthy and savory notes work very well with lightly tart farmhouse-style ales. We’re very privileged to have a great selection of beer available in Brooklyn, so I will say that one of my current favorite pairings with our Maitake mushroom pizza is Chanterelle from Scratch Brewing, which is brewed with chanterelle mushrooms. This may be hard to make this happen unless you’re in NYC or Illinois (where Scratch is located) so if that’s the case just look for Boulevard Brewery’s Tank 7 for some crisp and refreshing farmhouse funk.”
“White pies are a little more delicate and generally have a focus on the crust, as the original pizzas and flatbreads from Italy did. This is why I love to drink a classic German pilsner with them, especially Mahr’s Bräu’s.”
“What better way to answer this killer Northeastern-style pizza than with a light and crisp gose? That’s because gose generally have a higher PH level and lower ABV levels, making it an awesome partner for those richer seafood dishes. Westbrook Brewing has a light, buttered popcorn note to the finish after it greets you with a burst of refreshing and soft briny sour notes up front.”