All Articles All Articles

Pairings Pizza and Beer —
7 Pairings for
the Perfect Meal

Abbott and Costello, Thelma and Louise, Loggins and Messina. Refined duos all, but nothing elevates a night like the right pizza and beer pairing.

Pizza and Beer —<br>7 Pairings for<br>the Perfect Meal

Pizza and beer make for a classic pair, but this duo’s magic lies in how they bring out the best of each other’s complementary flavors. Pairing the right beer with its match in pizza toppings can emphasize the natural taste of the ingredients and heighten your gastronomic experience. With endless varieties of microbrews, ales, stouts and lagers — each with its own unique vibe —choosing the right beverage for your pizza is no small feat. And while the world of brewing is nuanced, the world of pizzas is its own mosaic — each unique pie comes with its own blend of toppings, spices and seasonings to match. The perfect beer pairing enhances the natural aromas of each ingredient on your preferred pizza without masking its taste or overwhelming your senses.

We’ve come up with seven perfect beer pairings to elevate your pizza night, no matter your favorite pizza or level of beer savvy. Pairing the best beer with pizza is an art in itself, so check out our pairing list to make your next get-together a truly gratifying experience.

CLASSIC MARGHERITA

Nothing says pizza like the quintessential pie that defines them all: a classic Margherita. Stripped back to basics, Margherita pizzas are a familiar yet aromatic must-have for any pizza night. This Neapolitan treat — made with fresh San Marzano tomatoes, fragrant basil and mozzarella cheese — got its name from Margherita of Savoy, Queen of Italy, in the late 1800s. Fun fact: the Margherita was also created to honor the Italian flag through its green, white and red hues.

The crisp, clean flavors of a Margherita are best paired with an unfiltered ale, often found in Tangier IPAs with fruity fragrances and fresh hop flavors. New England IPAs create a smooth, creamy mouthfeel that makes the sweet sauce of a Margherita pop.

H&F beer picks:

  1. King JJJuliusss by Tree House Brewing Company (8.4%)
    Flavor profile: Mango, orange, and sweet grapefruit with a hint of bitterness.
  2. Hazy Little Thing by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (6.7%)
    Flavor profile: Cloudy herbal tea, white peach and orange juice notes.
Person holding beer

SPICY PEPPERONI

Truly an all-American pie, the pepperoni pizza originally hails from New York City. A spicy salami, pepperoni is made from a cured beef and pork mixture and seasoned with garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, fennel seed, as well as paprika, which gives it its reddish color. Good pepperoni balances the meat’s natural acidity with a harmonious blend of salt, fat and spice. Topping your pizza with thin-cut slices adds a bold, smoky flavor to the starchy richness of a well-made crust. Hoppy, malt-flavored pale ales can bring out the spiciness of the meat without emphasizing its natural saltiness, and can also enhance the flavor of the sauce without overshadowing the pepperoni. Pale ales are typically amber in color and often have earthy notes of pine, citrus and caramel, making this combo the optimal beer and pizza pairing.

H&F beer picks:

  1. Zombie Dust by Three Floyds Brewing Company (6.4%)
    Flavor profile: Fruity, malty and juicy with a touch of pine.
  2. Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (5.6%)
    Flavor profile: Floral and citrusy with hints of grapefruit, pine and caramel.
Two glasses of beer

SWEET HAWAIIAN

Love it or hate it, Hawaiian pizza is topped with fresh pineapple and salty ham. Despite its tropical name, the polarizing pie was originally a Canadian invention, first introduced in Chatham, Ontario. Though widely debated, the acidic sweetness of pineapple is a great complement to the salt and fattiness of the pizza’s cheese and ham. Naturally, a fruit-based ale is the perfect beer and pizza pairing for this pie — subtle notes of strawberry, citrus or cherry can contrast the salty ham topping while enhancing the sweetness of the pineapple. Fruit beers are often made from fruit puree or extract and can be a great introduction to the world of brewing for beer novices.

H&F beer picks:

  1. Kriek Ale by Cascade Brewing (7.7%)
    Flavor profile: Sour and aged cherry ale.
  2. Purple Haze by Abita Brewing Company (4.2%)
    Flavor profile: A purple-hued pilsner with tart raspberries and fruit pulp.
Glass of beer

CHEESE

Nothing says pure pizza like a multi-cheese pie. Lucky for cheese connoisseurs, cheese pizza can be created with any combination of your favorite cheeses — but these gooey pizzas are often made from mozzarella, provolone, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a creamy cheese like ricotta. Optionally, fresh basil can add an herby finish to this rich cheese pie. The best beer with pizza option for an extra-cheesy pie is any lightly hopped blonde ale, which balances out the fat of the cheeses while enhancing their natural flavors.

H&F beer picks:

  1. Citra by Tree House Brewing Company (7.8%)
    Flavor profile: Notes of orange juice, tangerine and grapefruit with a soft finish.
  2. Brewers Gold Extra by Crouch Vale Brewery (5.2%)
    Flavor profile: English beer with sweet malt aromas and citrusy hops.
Glass of beer

FRESH VEGGIE

What better way to enjoy fresh, in-season vegetables than with a veggie pizza? Typically, a veggie pizza is topped with onion, mushrooms, green bell pepper and olives, but similar to an all-cheese pizza, this versatile pie can be topped with any mixture of crisp, flavorful veggies. Vegetable topping options make for a variety of pizza flavor profiles, each with their own unique aromas. With so many topping choices, it can be hard to choose the best beer with pizza to wash down your slice, but a light and mild pilsner with brisk, subtle flavors can enhance the natural flavors of each unique veggie.

H&F beer picks:

  1. Premiant by Alma Mader Brewing (5%)
    Flavor profile: Sweet, earthy hops with hints of spice, herbs and zest.
  2. Pivo by Firestone Walker Brewing Company (5.3%)
    Flavor profile: Crisp and floral with peppery hops and light grapes.
Glass of beer

MEAT LOVERS’

The aptly-named meat lovers’ pizza is the perfect choice for fans of salty, smokey toppings — no veggies in sight. Typically, meat lovers’ pizzas are topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, bacon, or sliced ham, but this heavy pie can be made from any of your favorite meat toppings. The ultimate indulgence, meat lovers’ pizza flavors are peppery and strong, but the meat topping mixture can be enhanced by a smokey, dark ale. Dark ales are often brewed with hints of maple, hickory and other woods that complement the saltiness of this pizza’s many meat toppings.

H&F beer picks:

  1. Fore Smoked Stout by Dark Horse Brewing Company (7%)
    Flavor profile: Charred and malty with dark chocolate aromas.
  2. Sue by Yazoo Brewing Company (9%)
    Flavor profile: Rich and smoky with notes of cherry wood and cashew.
Two glasses and a bottle of beer

ROASTED MUSHROOM

With so many varieties, mushrooms make a versatile, savory and fragrant topping to any type of pizza crust. Each vegetal mushroom has its own distinct flavor; portobello mushrooms have a meaty taste, while porcini mushrooms taste woodsier. When heated, luxurious truffles can add a slightly garlic and roasted flavor to a sourdough crust. Strong stouts are the perfect complement to the distinct taste of mushrooms — their darkly sweet and roasted qualities add a smoky balance to the veggie’s earthy taste, making them the optimal beer and pizza pairing for mushroom toppings.

H&F beer picks:

  1. Double Shot by Tree House Brewing Company (7.6%)
    Flavor profile: Dark roasted malt, toffee and velvety espresso with maple syrup.
  2. The Awakening by Angry Chair Brewing (6.6%)
    Flavor profile: Roasted coffee, vanilla bean and cacao nibs with creamy chocolate.
Person holding a glass of beer

Whether you’re enjoying pizza at home with friends or dining out at your favorite pizza shop after work, you can pair any of your favorite pizzas with one of our beer pairing recommendations. As a rule of thumb, the perfect beer pairing has flavors similar to your pizza — so keep that in mind when shopping for your next pizza night libations.