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The correct beer with pizza?

In a discussion about a Chicago-style pizza on the SF Bay Board a poster wrote ...

"I gave up on in-restaurant Z's a while ago. Besides the likely long wait, their beer selection leaves much to be desired. I think it's sierra nevada or nothing, maybe steam? With all the great beers local, that's just wrong. The right beer with their pizza is much lighter, like a Sudwerk or even Pyramid. Come to think of it, the Asian pilsners - Tsing Dao, Harbin, Singha - are perfect, although sacreligious."

Hmmm ...

I really never considered a good pairing of beer to pizza ... or even wine to tell you the truth.

Do you drink specific brews with certain types of pizza?

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  1. the definitively correct beer or wine is the one you have/like. period.

    although you can never go wrong with Sapporo or Kirin. or Bud.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      Budweiser is really good if you don't like flavor.

      1. re: Josh

        Generally, I like good, crafty beers. But there is a place in the world for Bud, as well (i.e. on a hot summer day, in the early afternoon, when it's a choice between lemonade or a light-tasting, refreshing, low-alcohol content beer). I think Bud would be perfectly great with pizza... especially if it's something like a "Hawaiian" pizza with sweet pineapple and salty ham / bacon.

        1. re: Josh

          Although I am not a Budweiser drinker, they didn't become the #1 American Brewery overnight. I guess I respect them, even though I don't like them.

      2. I never thought about it but I usually have a pale ale with pizza. I just had some good beer last night that would work well with pizza. Deshutes Inversion IPA.

        1. I suppose it depends on the topping. But in Italy, usually white table wine, slightly "frizzante" (a wee bit bubbly - we aren't talking Prosecco, but many Italian white table wines that have tiny bubbles) or rather light beer.

          Wine is just as normal with pizza as beer, but (usually white) Italian table wine; nothing fancy.

          1. The correct beer w/ a pizza? For a Jersey Pollack like me the answer is obvious: lots!
            Sometimes this site slays me.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg

              I don't think this question is silly. I make my own pizza, and I take care with the ingredients, using organic stoneground flour, good cheese, olive oil and vegetables etc.

              Wine or beer pairings aren't just for the rarest or fanciest of foods; they play a part in the enjoyment of everyday ones.

              1. re: lagatta

                We enjoy making our own pizza too. We have five kids and Fri. used to be like a pizza factory. But we' d save the last pie for us, usually w/ seafood, shrimp, scallops, mussells and/or clams, sometimes a red and sometimes a white 'za. Then we'd ship the horde off to the living room, light the candles, uncork a nice bottle of wine and enjoy our night "out" at a quaint little Italian restaurant, called Pop's.
                The kids are grown now, the youngest finishing his freshman year in college in Amherst, Ma. and we no longer make pizzas. Two will be home for the summer; have to start again. This August will be the first time all 5 will be home in 5 years.
                Enjoy your pizza and wine.

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  That will be fun! I don't have any children, but my sweetie has a grown daughter. I make pizzas for my friends.

                  1. re: lagatta

                    Go eat some good quality cretan, ployes and boudain for me, but hold the fries w/ gravy!
                    Tres Bon

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Creton et boudin, though I don't really like those things. I think ployés are regional - in particular Acadian, Gaspesian, Lower St-Lawrence - not so much in Montréal. But I see they are a type of buckwheat crêpe and indeed I ate buckwheat crêpes for supper tonight, with ricotta cheese (hey, le côté italien). Nothing to do with pizza though.

                      And while I love frites, I hate sauce.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        I used to eat buckwheat crepe w/ caviar, onion and sour cream in Helsinki.

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          I had a nice Malbec with pizza..it worked..

              2. re: Passadumkeg

                Obvious to me, too! Lots and lots! Although I'll take a Geary's Pale Ale to wash down my pizza if I can get it.

                1. Barberas work really nicely with most pizza, I think. If you have a hot sausage / hot pepper topping, try it with a gewurztraminer or sweeter reisling.

                  That said, I concur with Hill Food: there isn't a 'correct' beer or wine, really. Drink whatever tastes good to you, be it Natty Light or a Chateau Margaux.

                  1. Try a nice Hefeweizen .. Franziskaner is a favorite of mine, I aquired the taste as a matter of fact eating a pizza in Southern Germany at a Trattoria named " De Bello E Bello" It has a nice mellow citrus taste and a mild banana and clove finish. Pair that with a Quatro Formagio or a Diavola Pizza and enjoy.

                    Check out the avatar pic, that was from Munich, Germany.

                    1. Here is a pic of the Hefe with the Diavola

                      1. You could fine tune your selection to the type of pizza if you wish, but for Chicago style I don't see anything wrong with Anchor Steam- it's got the barely perceptable diacetyl to play off of the buttery crust, and a good dose of bitterness to cut through the fat. It's probably a great choice, as a matter of fact. Sometimes you just shouldn't let your geekiness get in the way of your common sense;)

                        As to wine- it's usually the acid that does the trick. Again- you want something that cuts through the fat as well as plays off of the acid in the tomatoes. Lately with me it's either Dolcetto or Primitivo (they also have an earthy/herbal quality that I like) depending on my mood, but I also think you can cast a pretty broad net with your selections and not really go wrong.

                        1. Michael Jackson recommended Vienna lager, comparing its malty spiciness and sweetness to cooked-tomato sweetness and basil spiciness in pizza.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                            Anybody know of a commercially-brewed Vienna lager that's available in the US? AFAIK Victoria is the only one out there, and it's only sold in Mexico...

                              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                Wow, the BJCP agrees with you as to Negro Modelo, so I'll defer to them. But I'm really confused--how can something labeled "Dark Ale" and is dark brown in color possibly be an example of a style that uses lager yeast and is "light reddish amber to copper color"?

                                On the positive side, your post sent me to BJCP and beeradvocate.com, where there's some indication that a few microbreweries are making Viennas. May have to keep an eye open for them next time pizza is on the menu...

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Negro Modelo is a substyle of Vienna named for Mexican brewer Santiago Graf, who developed it. It is essentially a classic Vienna with a small amount of roasted malt added to the grist- it's sort of unique in that regard. If it is labeled as an 'Ale' then just chalk that up to crazy labeling laws, which occasionally have nothing to do with reality :)

                                  If you can find any Schwelmer Bernstein give that a try as well- it's much more in line with what most would think of as a typical Vienna.

                                  1. re: TongoRad

                                    Poking around the web, I see this:

                                    In Texas, any beer over 4% alcohol by volume (3.2% by weight) is labeled “ale” whether it is fermented with ale yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) or lager yeast (S. uvarum). Any beer – ale or lager - under 4% abv is labeled “beer.”

                                    I found this at http://norcalbeers.tribe.net/thread/5...

                                    Of course, this may not be authoritative or current.

                                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                      Texas is often to blame when it comes to "crazy labeling laws" and is usually the reason that a beer- especially an import (many of which are called "malt liquor")- is labeled as a beer style that it's not, but the actual alcohol percentage limits are -

                                      TABC Section 1.04
                                      (12) "Ale" or "malt liquor" means a malt beverage containing more than four percent of alcohol by weight.
                                      (15) "Beer" means a malt beverage containing one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by volume and not more than four percent of alcohol by weight, and does not include a beverage designated by label or otherwise by a name other than beer.
                                      http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/default.htm (pdf of Code).

                                      Since 4% abw = 5% abv, the limit is actually a bit higher than that website noted (high enough so BMC's flagship beers aren't affected). I think they also changed the laws a bit recently so that some styles (bock, stouts, porters) don't have to be mislabeled.

                                    2. re: TongoRad

                                      Something tells me that Sr. Graf's original formulation is not quite the same as the beer now being brewed by the folks who bring us Corona Light. But at least it explains the color.

                                      The more I read about it, the more I realize that Gordon Biersch Marzen (sorry, no umlaut) may be the closest thing to a Vienna lager that's readily available. But if a sixer of Schwelmer Bernstein presents itself, please accept my thanks in advance.

                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                        >The more I read about it, the more I realize that Gordon Biersch Marzen (sorry, no umlaut) may be the closest thing to a Vienna lager that's readily available.

                                        Sam Adams Boston Lager? I think of it as a hoppier version of a vienna lager - well, when its fresh anyway - some versions seem less hoppy depending on where its made or its age.

                                        1. re: LStaff

                                          I recall years ago Michael Jackson looked at SABL as a sort of pilsner. So I guess it's either an amber pilsner or a hoppy Vienna!

                                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                            Yeah- I'd say if you snagged a 'good one' you have an amber Pilsner on your hands. There were definitely more of those about when MJ wrote that one ("...in broadly the Pilsener style...").

                            1. I would echo some sentiments here about "what's on the pizza"? If it's a white clam pie from Pepe's then it might be a dry white wine or a light lager. If it's a meat pie then I would think a zin, cab or hearty malbec. I generally drink a bigger ale, IPA or a cream stout with most tomato-meat pizzas

                              If I was back in Texas and eating a pizza with jalapenos on it then I might choose a sweeter German white or a sweeter beer, like a Fat Tire or a Belgian Ale.

                              1. Can't believe no one's mentioned what, in my opinion, is THE pizza grape: sangiovese. It's great with the acidity in red sauce, and casual enough for the 'za itself. Yum.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                  cause this is the beer board! But sangio goes well with pizza, to be sure!

                                  1. re: Diana

                                    Eh ... this started out on General Topics because it to me was more about upping the deliciousness of a slice with the correct beverage so wine recs are fine with me and would have been on topic with my original request. .

                                    1. re: rworange

                                      Ideally, this conversation would have been two different threads, one on each of Wine and Beer. Since it was primarily about Beer when we moved it, we moved it here. You're more than welcome to start a thread on the Wine board about matching wine with pizza.

                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                          Ya know, your response is probably for others more than me. For me, the original question was about pizza not beer really, as I said.

                                          I know The Chowhound Team has a lot to read and you don't always read things carefully so someone saw ... beer, beer, beer ... and moved it here.

                                          It answered some of my query. It doesn't matter to me in the big picture. I'm not all that interested in the wine thread. Becasue the software remains sluggish for me I have to pick and choose what I read on Chowhound. It has been years since Hot Posts has been useful to me and I am able to read less and less. The site becomes less and less fun and informative.

                                          If The Chowhound Team doesn't know by now that I try to put stuff on the correct board and if I'm not sure I'll make sure that is stated in the front of the post ... well.

                                          As stated, I learned a lot from all the beer-interested people on this board ... so in the long run .. cool.

                                          Seriously, don't need to waste your time responding to me like this. The few things I want to ask. I can't and get deleted. It doesn't matter to me anymore.

                                          1. re: rworange

                                            Threads on here usually evolve to existing beyond the OP's needs. Because we all are interested, we all become a part of the discussion!

                                            We are by now, responding to each other.

                                  2. I always find a good IPA, such as Racer 5 and Green Flash West Coast IPA, always works well with a red sauce pizza.
                                    While up at Russian River Brewing yesterday, I ordered a small Excell pizza with Mozzarella, pesto, sausage, spinach & carmelized onions. I matched it up with their Beatification, their Belgian style brown ale aged in Pinot Noir barrels. It was great together and it would match up well with any red or pesto sauce pizza. The wife had a small Abbey pizza with Mozz, ranch sauce, tomatoes, chicken, art. hearts, parmesan & oregano. She had a glass of their Little White Lie, a Belgian style wit beer that was crisp and also worked well. This would be a great beer for any white pizza or if you are enjoying a slice on a hot day.

                                    1. cold grolsch or red hook's esb.

                                      1. Gimme a Czech w/ 'Za any Czech, especially a Czechvar so I can toast to the demise of Bud.

                                        1. Cask-conditioned, hand-pumped Racer 5, or whatever else they have on cask at Lanesplitter.

                                          Anywhere else I drink wine, which I guess is off topic since this is the Beer board, so I'll post about that on the Wine board:


                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Thanks for referring me to that topic, as I'm not a beer drinker. However I AM very interested in what beer to serve with pizza as I have many friends who are beer drinkers and we have very good craft beers (micro or mid-sized) and pizza is convivial - even very good pizza is NOT a fancy food, it is about pleasing your friends and having a good time!

                                            1. re: lagatta

                                              I think German hefeweizen would probably be a really good choice. Paulaner, for example.

                                              1. re: Josh

                                                you must have seen my pic right ?

                                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              A pint of Drakes IPA on cask at the Lanesplitter with 2 of their slices is a great lunch.

                                            3. ESB or any quality IPA.

                                              Personal favorites for pizza (with always hot sauce/hot pepper) are Fullers ESB, DFH 60 minute, Troegs Nugget Nectar, or Victory Hop Devil.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: yankeefan

                                                Mark the record books, I agree with a Yankeefan again, Sierra Nevada IPA offset the Red Pepper infused Oil that I like to top my fresh pizza with.

                                                Here are a few pics of pizzas I have made

                                                Pepperoni with Pecorino Romano

                                                Spinach, Garlic, Mushroom Sheet Pan

                                                Obviously two different crust variations and two perfect pizza's, IMHO

                                                1. re: Jimbosox04

                                                  That 2nd one looks nice. Id like to have some of that, a fine bitter and watch Farnsworth throw one a bit closer to Manny's head.

                                                  Diana- good call below with Anchor Steam, could always a little more hops though. I had a pizza with calimari and hot peppers last night with Troegs Nugget Nectar- perfect.

                                              2. Pie with red sauce and meats, for wine, Salice Salentino.
                                                Beer, I just want something with a lot of hops.

                                                1. Frankly, I can't think of a beer I wouldn't have with pizza. It's one of those rare great dishes that lends its self to whatever beer you want to drink, which is nice because you don't have to try and pair them up. Just drink the type of beer you and and eat the kind of pie you want. There aren't that many dishes out there that give you the best of both worlds.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: FlaHopper

                                                    I dunno, pizza and barleywine, lambic, flemish red, raspberry porter, smoked porter, chocolate stout just doesn't sound good as pizza and wit, lager, IPA, and so on.

                                                    I thing a good slice and a nice glass of Anchor Summer or Anchor steam is nice.

                                                    1. re: Diana

                                                      Fine, I'll give you the lambic and flemish red, which I treat as outliers in the vast pantheon of beers. But I'd happily have any and all of the rest with any slice of pizza set in front of me.

                                                      1. re: FlaHopper

                                                        Yeah- there have been times in my life when I've enjoyed bacon-topped pizza, and a smoked porter would've really hit the spot with that, that's for sure.

                                                        1. re: TongoRad

                                                          oooh, hadn't thought of that! Yum!

                                                        2. re: FlaHopper


                                                          They're both styles with a very long history. American macro lager and light beer would seem to be more outliers given their relatively young age in the world of beer making.

                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                            As to say -- in my opinion -- that these beer styles are particularly unique in relation to the other styles out there. These beers can range from very sweet to quite sour, and therefore unlike most, if not all, other styles.

                                                    2. I just had a cheese pizza with an Anchor Steam, it was a taste of heaven.