Homemade Pizza Paired With Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’

Beer and Pizza

One of the few truths of beer and food pairing is this:  Unless you have a skunked beer or use crappy ingredients for the sauce or crust or use moldy mozzarella, then there is little if no way to screw up a beer and pizza pairing.  Pick a good pale ale and quality ingredients and you have a successful pairing.

So, to up the difficulty of this pairing I made the crust and the sauce for the pizza.  One of the truisms of home brewing is the best beer you will ever taste is a beer that you brewed (no matter how bad that home brew may be, trust me).  The same can be said for pizza.  When I decided to do everything from scratch it was not the sauce that worried me.  It is a good simple recipe that still packs a good sweet (carrots and my own idea: brown sugar) and garlicky taste.  I like pizza sauce a little sweeter than pasta sauce.

The crust worried me.  The last time I made a crust for a veggie pot pie and that did not work as well I had hoped.  This actually came out light and airy.  It is a little doughy, which as long as I keep making it will get better.

Pizza Sauce

Sauce and Homemade CrustAbout to go into the ovenFinished Product

Since this is my summer of wheat, the beer I chose was one of my favorites, Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale.  It is a pale wheat ale, but since it is a Lagunitas brew it is a hoppy pale wheat, much hoppier then the Southern Tier 422.  The 422 might go a little better because without the hops it would provide more of a complement to the sauce.  The Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ works just fine as a contrast to the sauce.Little Sumpin' Sumpin'

Question, what if I had not added the brown sugar to the recipe?  Would Sumpin’ Sumpin’ taste better with the sauce?  Once you get past the basics of pairings and start to really think about the tastes of individual beers and ingredients you put in your recipes these are things that make pairing and cooking really fun.  To an extent you can manipulate the taste of the meal and beer just by shifting choices slightly.  Instead of 422 choose Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’.  Add brown sugar, take away green bell peppers.  Add a few dashes of lemon-pepper seasoning.  Each of these choices affects the other ingredients and/or how the beer pairs with the food either as a complement or as a contrast.

This is one of those cases where the pairing guides you read will tell you a pale ale works with pizza.  What those guides do not tell you is that picking different beers from the recommended style changes the nature of the pairing.  Again, the best way to figure out what beers will pair with what foods is to taste a lot of beers and learn more about the actual beer styles.  The three books that have helped me the most in pairing are Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher He Said Beer, She Said Wine by Sam Calagione and Marnie Old, The Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver, and Beer, Food, and Flavor by Schuyler Schultz.  Any of these is a great place to start.

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