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Pairing: Beer & pizza

CATEGORIES: Food   Pairs  


Ed Rudolph / DRAFT

Beer-pizza pairing isn’t one-size-fits-all: Sweet pineapple, verdant peppers and spicy sausage require particular pours. Order in (or defrost) your favorite pizza, and pair it properly with these guidelines.

Cheese & ESB
We’re drawn to the way a malt-forward beer can create richness with a simple cheese slice. An ESB’s nuttiness is a natural fit with the slice’s salt while the beer’s soft mouthfeel and sweet caramel push the gooey factor with the cheese. Just enough bitterness washes away the grease, leaving some soft cheese flavor on the tongue.

Pepperoni & black IPA
Pepperoni’s got kick, and alongside a black IPA’s spicy hops and bitter roast, the peppery flavor gets sharper and more defined. The beer’s dark roast also draws out the sausage smokiness, while hop and malt bitterness (the hallmark of this beer style) scrub away grease and prep the palate for another big bite.

Barbecue & rauchbier
Where there’s barbecue, there’s smoke: In this “but-of-course!” duet, the beer’s campfire wisps bring some authentic grilled flavor to the supersweet, caramelized BBQ sauce, giving even low-budget slices gourmet complexity. Even still, a simple, clean lager finish zips through the mouth and tidies up the palate.

Hawaiian & blonde ale
A classic American blonde ale streams quietly beneath this island-inspired slice, creating fullness in the mouth. The beer’s simple malt sweetness connects with the same sweetness in the ham and pine-apple, but tones down the fruit’s acidity. Hop bitterness anchors the pair, and washes it away like a wave receding into the ocean.

Meat lovers & Scotch ale
A forceful, caramel-forward Scotch ale stands up to the impact of multiple meats in one bite: It attracts the sweeter flavors in meat, while toppings like Italian sausage and pepperoni bring spicy and herbal notes that integrate perfectly into the beer’s sturdy malt profile. A wisp of smoke underscores the bite, while smooth alcohol helps to dry out the tongue.

Veggie & IPA
Today’s IPAs range from resinous pine to juicy pineapple; with a garden-inspired pizza, find one with hops that lean green (think grassy, oniony and catty). Onions and peppers gain crisp definition alongside vegetal hops, while the beer’s bitterness deftly bristles away the oil and cheese, leaving only fresh—and deceptively healthy—veggie flavors behind.

DIY PIE?: Beer dough is the path to pizza perfection—trust us. Try our recipe for Brown Ale Pizza Dough.


Erika Rietz is DRAFT’s Editor-in-chief. Reach her at erika.rietz [at] draftmag.com


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