When it comes to pairing drinks with pizza, we love it all. Beer? Of course. Champagne? Yes, please. A tiki cocktail? Why not!
So, when we chatted with a few of our favorite pizza makers throughout the U.S. on their favorite pairings, we kept it open: What do you like to drink with your pizza and why? Read on below for their answers — a few may surprise you.
“We’ve been really enjoying rosés recently with our pizza. They’re very versatile and easy drinking. A fuller more structured rosé like Indigeno’s rosato of Montepulciano you could choose to drink with the tomato-based pies. The bright, fruit-forward Artist Formerly Known as Peach by Anders Frederik Steen works great with the white pies. But really, both go great with all pizza.” — Mike Fadem, Ops, Brooklyn, N.Y.
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“Many like to pair pizza with beer. I prefer a glass of Aglianico, an indigenous red varietal from around Naples. Its acidity and tannins make it perfect for a pizza with meat. My perfect combination is a white pizza with smoked mozzarella, broccoli rabe, and sausage with a glass of Aglianico.” — Rosario Procino, Ribalta Pizza, New York, N.Y.
“My suggestion would be Sangiovese and a Margherita pizza… Tomato sauce is a notoriously tricky pairing and needs the right partner for the acidity of the sauce. Sangiovese is a high-acid grape that is up for the challenge.” — Sarah Clarke, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles, Calif.
“The perfect thing to pair with our sweet corn pizza is a glass of Old Forester bourbon with a splash of water and a few drops of bitters. The corn pizza really lets the bourbon’s sweetness come forward, the smokiness of the bacon helps mellow out the heat, and the bitters add a refreshing pop. Be careful, the bourbon will go down real easy.” — Richard Sible, Garage Bar, Louisville, Ky.
“You can’t go wrong with pizza and beer, but one of my favorite combinations is the #4 —meatball, garlic, and ricotta — and Black Sheep Blonde by Fair State Brewing. The hoppiness of the blonde ale balances the creaminess of the ricotta, and is a perfect complement to our meatballs.” — Jordan Smith, Black Sheep Pizza, Minneapolis, Minn.
“I don’t drink myself, so I enjoy a Mexican Coke with our pizza, but my partner, Manoly Kladovasilakis, likes a Hazy in the Orchard hopped cider from Cider Corps with our salami and spicy honey pizza. The bitter hops do a great job cutting through the sweetness of the honey.” — Myke Olsen, Myke’s Pizza, Mesa, Ariz.
“I love an Alsatian varietal such as Pinot Blanc or Gewürtztraminer with our roasted potato pizza with caramelized onions, Gruyère cheese, and fresh herbs. It highlights the sweetness of the onions and offsets the deep pungency of the Gruyère.” — Elizabeth Medina, Cheese Board Collective, Berkeley, Calif.
“My favorite pizza on the menu right now is the Felino Salame and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza with caramelized onions, local mozzarella, and arrabbiata sauce. My beer of choice is from a local female-run brewery in Inglewood, Calif., called Three Weavers. Its “Day Job” pale ale resonates with the pizza… The sweetness of the malt complements the caramelized onions and sweet peppers, while the hoppiness works well with the salty, fatty salami. It’s tropical and piney with a robust, crisp finish that complements the crunchy, chewy crust.” — Erin Eastland, Milo & Olive, Santa Monica, Calif.
“One of my favorite pizzas on our menu is also the simplest, the Mariana: tomato, garlic, and wild oregano (no cheese). With the addition of anchovies it pairs beautifully with Île de Beauté YL 2017, a gorgeous rosé wine from Yves Leccia, a producer on the island of Corsica. A blend of Grenache and Niellucciu, it has both bright fruit and salinity that dance between the pure tomato and salty anchovy flavors.” — Cathy Whims, Nostrana, Portland, Ore.
“At Al Forno, our pizzas are cooked on the grill over a hardwood charcoal fire. The flavors imparted by direct heat and smoke allow for interesting wine pairing opportunities. One of our favorites is the Pizza Calamari with Terre Nere Etna Bianco. The acidity and minerality from Etna’s volcanic soil blend well with the bold spice of our arrabbiata sauce on the pizza and the richness of fried squid. It’s a perfect combination.” — Rob White, Al Forno Pizza, Providence, R.I.