Beer or wine? Whatever your pleasure, there's a perfect accompaniment for your pizza
Beer: Mix and match
Margherita pizza: Simple ingredients and light flavors require an equally delicate beer, and German pilsner is the way to go. It's crisp, dry and light with bitterness that is assertive but not overwhelming. Examples: Fair State Pils, Summit Keller Pils
Meat Lover's pizza: At the opposite end of the spectrum, a meat lover's pizza is heavy, rich and fatty, and an IPA or Double IPA is the perfect beer to tackle it. Bold citrus, tropical fruit and resinous flavors with aggressive bitterness will stand up to even the gooiest of pies. Examples: Steel Toe Size 7 IPA, Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA
Hawaiian pizza: The salty Canadian bacon and ever-controversial pineapple call for a Belgian witbier. This light, refreshing wheat beer has notes of lemon, banana and orange that speak to the pineapple. Hints of clove and coriander play well with the bacon. Examples: Wittekerke Wit, Hoegaarden
BBQ Chicken Pizza: This calls for barbecue in a glass. A German rauchbier — smoked lager — delivers just that. Brewed with smoked grains, these malt-forward lager beers have an almost meaty smokiness that's perfect with barbecue sauce and great with Gouda. Examples: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock
Veggie pizza: You can throw just about any vegetable on a pizza. Once the pie is baked, they essentially become roasted vegetables. My favorite beer with roasted vegetables is a Vienna lager. It's light and crisp to cut through cheese and oils without overwhelming the pizza's milder flavors. The toasty, malty profile absolutely sings with roasted vegetables and mushrooms. Examples: Schell's Firebrick, Beaver Island Vienna Lager
Wine: A slice of super options
As with all food-wine pairings, finding the right match is all about the ingredients.
With pizza that means toppings — specifically the sauce, and whether it's made from tomatoes. The acidity in tomatoes does not play well with tannic reds or jammy whites — even if pineapple is involved. Just remember that three categories rule (all recommended wines under $20):
Transport yourself (virtually) to Tuscany:Juicy, expressive sangiovese-based delights such as Selvapiana Vendemmia Chianti Rufina, Fontaleoni Chianti and Castelluccio Le More Romagna Sangiovese Superiore have off-the-charts tomato affinity and lip-smacking versatility.
Think pink: It has been encouraging to see quite a few rosés, which rock with white pizza but play deftly with saucy, cheesy offerings, on store shelves this winter. If any of these three — Muga Rioja Rosé, Castello di Bossi Toscana Rosato, Domaine du Père Caboche Rosé — is not available, ask your winemonger for something similar.
Grab some fruit: Zesty zins such as Four Vines or Pedroncelli Mother Clone, plummy malbecs such as Crios de Susana Balbo or Trapiche Broquel and rich blends such as Marietta Old Vine or Meschini Malbec-Syrah (locally owned!) are swell options, especially with meaty pizzas.
— Bill Ward