Kitchen at the End of the Universe: Beer and Pizza – the Perfect Couple

Noble Savage (he said):

Anthony and Cleopatra. Lancelot and Guinevere. Marie and Pierre Curie. History is filled with iconic couples. But none is more inspiring than the perfect power couple ever to grace Planet Earth: beer and pizza.

October is pizza month, and even better, the 9th of October is beer and pizza day. You can even follow the day on Twitter (click here). So what better way to celebrate than to pair some beer with pizza? And luckily, the beer was no problem, seeing as I won a year’s supply of lovely Red Rock Brewing Co beer a few months back. All that’s left is sort out the pizza…

I have a pretty shitty track record when it comes to dough. The problem is most likely that I get bored with the kneading, and then just leave it as is. I have actually ruined a pizza stone by not kneading the dough properly. Luckily, there is an easy recipe to make the perfect pizza dough. Ready? One cup regular yogurt, and one-and-a-half cup self raising flour.

That is. Knead it for a little bit, and viola! It’s really as easy as that.

Another important component of pizza is the sauce. Again, it’s nothing too complicated. Roast about 1kg tomatoes in the oven for about 20 minutes. Fry three large red onions and some garlic in a pan, add the tomatoes, add a tin chopped tomatoes, season, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Then mash it all up with a stick blender. It makes quite a bit of sauce, so the leftover sauce can used with pasta, or you can just freeze it for next time.

Of course, I must mention, we’re using this nifty little contraption to make our pizza on the gas braai.

So with the basics sorted, let’s get cracking with the pairing. First up was Red Rock’s Bad Moon Crystal Weiss. I’m not the biggest fan of a Weiss, but this one was a pleasant surprise. It’s not as watery as I was expecting, and has a striking malted yeast flavour. It’s still easy drinking, so it was paired with a fresh pizza. The base was covered with sauce and a bit of cheddar. When it came out the baker box, it was sprinkled with rocket and prosciutto. This is the perfect pizza for summer, and worked very well with the Bad Moon. Crisp, fresh, with a great finish.

Next up was Red Rock’s Nine Inch Ale, paired with a four cheese pizza (cheddar, mozzarella, feta, and parmesan). The Nine Inch Ale is a pretty robust ale, and the citrusy spiciness went down very well with the cheese.

Third at the bat was Red Rock’s Storm Rider Pilsner. This is one my favourites. If the only pilsner you’ve ever had was Hansa, then give this one a go. It’s crisp and fresh, in the proper Czech style. The Storm Rider was paired with a traditional Margarita, and these two classics worked very well together.

At number four was Red Rock’s Rusty Trigger Lager. Again, it’s easy drinking without being flavourless. This is the type of lager you can have any hour of the day; in fact, it works very well after a long day at the office. Now the pictures might look too great, but the pizza paired with the Rusty Trigger was a tikka chicken. Very easy, I just fried some onions, then added the chicken, yogurt, and curry powder. And what the pizza lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in taste. It worked perfectly with the Rusty Trigger, and was hailed as the best pizza of the lot.

Four down, two to go. Except that the dough should not really be standing out for that long. Even covered in cling wrap, the last dough ball was extremely sticky. So I lost about half of the dough. Fuck. This type of a situation requires a cool head. Unfortunately, I was tired and a little drunk, so I decided to just make one more pizza. This one would be pepperoni and sun-dried tomatoes. The original plan was to pair it with Red Rock’s Firebird IPA. But, as it was the last pairing, I broke out something a bit more special.

While at one of Beer House’s #MeetTheBrewers sessions a while ago, Frontier Brewery and Hazeldean Brewery did a collaboration called The Haymaker. It’s basically a stout that’s aged in red wine barrels. Needless to say, it packs quite a punch. The production run was very limited, consisting of only 282 bottles. So I became the proud owner of number 15 and 102. And 102 went down VERY well with the pepperoni. The depth and complexity of the beer paired very well to the fennel and pepper flavours of the meat. In hindsight, it might have paired better with a dark chocolate dessert pizza, but still worked very well with the pepperoni.

And there you have it. Beer and pizza, the one couple that gives hope to all the rest of us. So go out there and make pizza. Or go to your favourite pizza joint tonight and celebrate the original power couple that is beer and pizza!

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