Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American craft beer ambassador for Europe, looks at beer and pizza pairings
Pub gardens and outside hospitality are opening in less than two weeks, but if you’re not tempted out of your kitchen just yet there’s still time to experiment with beer and food pairings, and beer and pizza is the perfect combo.
There are endless potential pizza toppings, which means that different beer styles can interact in different ways with each component part. You may find that one style works with the prominent ingredients of the topping, while another style echoes the toast of the crust.
A guide to pairing beer with pizza
Margherita and pilsner or lager
A crisp, clean Helles or pilsner lager with a high level of carbonation will scrub the palate clean of greasy cheese and cut through the fat content, while a dunkel with a lightly toasted malt backbone will complement the pizza crust.
Beer suggestions: Oskar Blues Brewery Mamas Little Yella Pils, or Oskar Blues Slow Chill Dunkel Lager.
Vegetarian and pale ale
Veggie toppings vary wildly — earthy mushrooms, salty cheese, bitter spinach. Try a beer that is versatile enough to resonate with each flavour, but not be overshadowed by the acidity of the tomato base.
Beer suggestions: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Pale Ale, or Heretic Brewing Co Evil Twin Red Ale
Pepperoni and IPA
Hops will enhance the spiciness of the pepperoni and cut through the grease so go for a robust, big-hitting, hoppy IPA. Strongly flavoured and spicy toppings should be paired with an equally strong and flavoursome beer. Hoppy IPAs balance the saltiness of the meat helping to refresh the palate.
Beer suggestions: Firestone Walker Brewing Co Union Jack IPA, or Stone Brewing Ruination IPA
Hawaiian and gose
Ham and tropical pineapple pair well with the fruity notes of gose, while the gentle tartness balances the sweetness of the pineapple and the salty note brings out the salinity of the ham.
Beer suggestions: Cigar City Brewing Margarita Gose, or Rogue Ales Honey Kölsch for a subtle sweetness
Spicy meat feast and stout
Sweet malty notes echo the intense, meaty flavours of the topping and calm the heat of the spice. The savoury or umami flavours of the pizza will be balanced by the chocolatey, roasted, richness of a full-bodied stout.
Beer suggestions: New Holland Brewing Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout, or a brown ale for something lighter and more approachable.
Why choose American craft beer?
American craft beer is widely perceived to be bigger, bolder, and more complex in flavour than many other nations’ making it sought out the world over. Why? American craft beer benefits from the use of high-quality raw materials, technical brewing expertise, relentless innovation and an unswerving commitment to quality. This stretches from production all the way through the supply chain, to ensure it reaches the beer drinker exactly as the brewer intended.
What’s more, American craft beer regularly wins top honours at international beer competitions, awarded by some of the best judging palates in the industry.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
The BA represents 5,400 US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.
The BA organises events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week.
The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the US.
Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.