Patxi’s pizza with wine and beer: a love story  »

On Aug. 31, I participated in a Patxi’s pizza, beer, and wine pairing. Let me tell you, I love pizza and beer! I love pizza and wine! I especially love those things for free.

The whole event was what I imagined being on an episode of Check, Please! must feel like—as in, the intense conversations about food and beverages at restaurants. When I was broke, lonely and up too late, living in Chicago, I watched that show all the time. Then, the first time I went to Patxi’s, what do they happen to be filming? Check, Please! Bay Area! You can see my cameo on my favorite show here, at the 1:21 mark. Yes, I am stuffing my face—but with a fork! I don’t know what possessed me to pick up a fork to eat pizza; that never happens, even if it is the instant mess known as Chicago-style. On that fateful night in July, I had a Daiya cheese, spinach, and mushroom-stuffed pizza with Sierra Nevadas. Fullness and contentment to the max!

The second time I went to Patxi’s, it was to take part in these pairings. Also in attendance were Raj Irukulla and Meredith Arthur of Chow, Amy Sherman of Cooking with Amy, Personal Sommelier Courtney Chochran and Laiko Bahrs of Patxi’s Pizza and coordinator of the night. I went in all, “I like pizza and beer, yum,” and very quickly felt like a college freshman in a class with seniors. However, I faced my intimidation and ate, drank, even offered some insight (very much to the tune of “pizza, wine, beer, YUM!”).

First vegan pizza! Thin crust with Daiya and tomatoes.

Second vegan pizza! Chicago-style deep dish with Daiya, olives, artichoke hearts, spinach, red bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and red onions.

The wines we drank included zinfandel, cabernet sauvingnon, pinot noir, and sauvignon blanc. The beers included Widmer hefeweizen, Sweetgrass APA, New Dogtown pale ale, and Bud Light.

I concluded that:

  • Pinot noir doesn’t go with pizza or me
  • Zinfandel and cabernet are so very tasty, but too strong for pizza
  • Sauvignon blanc pairs incredibly with spinach salad
  • Sweetgrass APA tastes very similar to Sierra Nevada, is therefore delicious and now my new favorite beer. That means it goes with all foods, all occasions
  • Hefenweizen and pale ales are not my thing and do not go with anything, ever, not even lemons (Sierra Nevada doesn’t count, as it’s darker than a typical Pale Ale)

And, now, I know you are going to think I’m crazy, but Bud Light goes really well with Chicago-style pizza. The entire table agreed! (We also had sampled all of the libations and eaten a lot at the point that the Bud Light was served). Its lightness compliments the flavors of the pizza and doesn’t weigh one down as much as a fuller-bodied/calorie-dense beer.

I learned that I like light beer with pizza. Plus I can totally pack more pizza in my stomach that way. Although, if someone else is buying, I’ll drink whatever is in front of me and it will be just fine!

Laiko emailed the group’s (vegan-relevant) conclusions:

  • Zinfandel was great with the extra-thin-crust pizzas
  • Sauvignon blanc was a nice pairing with cheese or Daiya extra-thin-crust pizzas, light on toppings
  • Cabernets and pinots competed with the tomato sauce and deep-dish flavors
  • Beer paired well with spicier pizza
  • Turns out Bud Light is great with deep-dish with lots of toppings

What do you guys think? What are your favorite adult beverages to pair with pizza?

Perfection! Pizza, wine, and a loose crayon. My pizza fell face flat on my plate as it was being served, but I was all “No problem here!”

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