Sunday 5 September 2010

FABPOW! Tipopils and Pizza

I have a theory: any beer works with any pizza...

Pizza is an inherently simple, eat-with-your-hands food. It’s the stuff of our childhood but we still eat it as a grownup, which has a cheeky appeal, like eating milky bars or fish fingers. Pizza can be one from a box (shop bought or take away-ordered) or it can be made from scratch, satisfyingly gooey in the middle and crispy at the edges, topped to your heart’s desire. On the grand scheme of food-things, making your own pizza is joyous and fun and bursting with childish appeal, like having free-reign to decorate a banana split with sauces, sweets and sprinkles.

Tipopils is a lager from Birrificio Italiano and it’s one of the best lagers I’ve tasted. It’s made with four hop varieties (Hallertauer Magnum, Hallertauer Perle, Hallertauer Hersbrücker and Hallertauer Saaz), it’s a little sherberty to begin, a little herby and floral and a hint of fresh bread in the aroma, which mellows out to an inviting orange and pineapple fruitiness. It’s incredibly smooth drinking which creates a cuddle-effect before the bold hops stamp through and leave their lingering trail of dry bitterness. It’s got so much character to keep it interesting throughout the glass, making you want to drink more and more after each quenching mouthful. Remarkably good, enough to make me look for flights to Milan leaving in the next 24 hours.

The pizza was homemade, both the dough and the sauce (the most flour-dusted and sauce-splattered pages of any cookery book I have are the ones in Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home for pizza dough and tomato sauce). There were four of them; Lauren and I both topped two each – mine were dramatically better, of course (she used mostly sweetcorn and onion which, in isolation, suck as pizza toppings). One of mine was smoked pancetta, chilli and lots of mozzarella, the other was piled high with flat mushrooms, red onion, basil and mozzarella (although, as Reluctant Scooper says, the toppings aren’t relevant, it's pizza and beer and that's what matters). Both of the pizzas are umami-bombs calling for the fruity sweetness and fizz which Tipopils deals up, while the dry finish at the end cuts the richness of the cheese and tomato. The match is helped along even further by the Italian heritage of the headliners.

This was one of those dinners where every mouthful is a pleasure and you eat and drink until you are a food-comatose lump on the floor, covered in crust crumbs and spatters of tomato sauce, but still somehow sipping at the beer because it’s so good, eyeing the slices which remain.

Pizza and beer belong together, a glass in one hand and a slice in the other. Like meat and potatoes they work, whatever the infinite varieties of recipes permit. It’s the simplest of pairings and always works, whether it’s a can of cooking lager or a bottle of something special. Pizza and beer: what do you think? Is there any beer which wouldn’t work with pizza (I won’t believe it if there are!)? Are there any which work particularly well with certain pizzas?

I’m now going to eat the cold leftovers and I’m dribbling at the prospect.


  1. "Pizza is an inherently simple, eat-with-your-hands food. It’s the stuff of our childhood"

    Ah - the generation gap. It isn't the stuff of my childhood. Mince and tatties maybe. I don't think I'd heard of pizza until I was about 20, or tasted it until I was about 30.

  2. Quite true Tandle. I remember when pizza was made by Birds Eye, and came as a 6" lump of frozen dough with either ham or onion with cheese. Suspicious stuff...

  3. Ignore those old farts. Pizza is indeed the stuff of childhood and what's brilliant about it is that not only can you recreate it yourself, but improve upon it!

    Not sure if you're right about toppings, though. That will be the subject of tonight's pub discussion. Obviously, though, pizza does go with any beer; although there are those who argue some pizzas are more suited to some beers than others.

    Dare I say this is your greatest post ever? If this does not win you Beer Writer of the Universe, nothing will.

  4. Tandleman, Sid - next you'll be telling me that potatoes haven't always be shaped like waffles or smiley faces...

    Tyson, I agree that certain beers are better with certain pizzas, but there's still an overarching universality to it all which I love. It's one of those things where you seemingly can't go wrong!

  5. Tipopils — one of the great lagered beers of Europe, try the Extra with a hop cone atop the dense foam; while pizza is the food of the gods, I like anchovies, chillies, squid, octopus, gruyere, capers, garlic, small toms and more chillies as a topping, and my mum used to make a half decent one in the 1970s so I don’t know where this thing about pizza suddenly appearing in the last few days came from…

  6. The pizza's in those pictures just got me in the mood for pizza and beer. That being said, I can't completely agree with that.

    Yes, I agree that pizza and beer mix extremely well! But not every beer goes well with pizza. Forget beer snobbery or douchery...mixing a pizza with say...a Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Stout...just doesn't do it for me or many.

    But's very true and beer are a match made in heaven. Perhaps pizza was invented just for beer? ;)


  7. Pizza nights are a staple for Gill and I. Like you, my toppings are almost always infinitely better than hers! :P

    It's also an excuse to use the sour dough starter; still chasing that elusive crust of perfection!

    I'm a lager or pilsner with pizza fan. It always surprises me how difficult it is to find good lager in England ... especially when you consider how much of the stuff we drink!

  8. It's a great looking beer, for sure. Is that a slight cloudiness or just condensation on the glass?

  9. ATJ - that sounds fantastic! As does the Extra.

    Ilya - I think that beer would be great with a pizza topped with gorgonzola and pancetta! Only one way to find out...

    Mark - Good lager in England... Good luck finding it!

    Bailey - I think it's a bit of both. It's unfiltered and I poured in the sediment having drunk plenty of unfiltered and unpasteurised lagers in CZ. Really great beer.

  10. Can you buy Tipopils in the UK ?

    Great looking pizzas btw :)