Beer and pizza offer one of those symbiotic culinary unions so deeply wedded as to make them inseparable, almost. Sure, there's the unconventional "pair it with a Pinot Noir!" plea from the oenophiles among us, and a root beer isn't a bad NA play. But really, if you're taking down a pie, chances are you're washing it down with some suds. The only way to marry these two Super Bowl staples more closely together? Make the pizza out of beer. Mindblowing, I know. But we've had the pie--in fact, we've made it from scratch--and it ain't half bad.
"Beer is just as good as water at hydrating the flour in dough," explained Mark Bello of Manhattan's Pizza a Casa (literally, Pizza at Home) during a recent class. "Making pizza at home is way easier than you think it might be." Bello should know--he's churned out more than 10,000 pizzas at his digs near Chinatown--but even for the newcomers in the class, learning the craft was as easy as following a simple dough recipe.
The secret ingredient, in our case: Samuel Adams Boston Lager. The only difference between the brews we consumed and those we added to the dough? We heated up the dough beer in a water bath to help activate the yeast. Bello's Super Bowl spin on two pies, one for San Fran fans, the other for Baltimore acolytes, are perfect centerpieces for any DIY or pot-luck feast. What's more, his recipes feature clever tips to keep the meat tender (we've had our share of sub-par clam pizzas, and few measure up to the mighty Pepe's in New Haven, the crucible of the white pie).
Check out the San Francisco-style pie here (featuring pepperoni and spicy pimento pesto).
And check out the Baltimore pie here (featuring crab meat, chives, and mozz).