Wine-os, take a back seat. While a wonderful red does pair well with pizza, we argue that beer is a better beverage pairing for pizza. Like wine, your choice of beer can heighten (or impede) your pizza tasting experience, and when you’re digging into a The Pizza Plant pizza, we want you to have the best experience possible. In our minds, every slice of pizza we put into our mouths should be exceptional, so we’re intentional about what we drink with it. Next time you fire up a The Pizza Plant pizza, don’t settle for whatever leftover party beer is in the fridge. Use this guide to find the perfect brew to enjoy with your pizza.
Is all beer plant-based?
Before diving into pairings, it’s necessary to address the plant-based question. We take pride in assuring that all of our The Pizza Plant pizza ingredients are animal-free and vegan—right down to the meaty tofu-based pepperoni and gooey cashew-based mozzarella. But what about beer? The industry is improving, but some breweries still utilize animal-derived substances as fining agents. The most common animal-based fining agents include gelatin (made from animal bones) and isinglass (part of a fish bladder). Unlike animal ingredients used to flavor the beer—such as lactose, whey, and honey—these fining agents are not listed on the ingredient label. Many stouts and fine cask ales still use isinglass (Guinness most famously, though the company has since removed animal substances from its fining processes), but to confirm, check barnivore.com. Whether you’re drinking beer, wine, or something harder, this comprehensive search engine is a reliable tool to determine if your alcohol is plant-based or not (fining agents included).
Here’s your short answer: most beer is vegan, but check barnivore.com before you buy a six-pack.
Cheese pizza and beer
For the no-frills, straight up cashew mozzarella, sauce, and crust crowd, you don’t want something heavy that will overwhelm the simple pleasures of your humble pizza. Opt for a pale ale with a good amount of hops. The slight bitterness from the hops pairs well with the sweeter side of a tomato-based marinara, and the overall experience serves as a nice palate cleanser in between sumptuous bites.
Try these beers: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Deschutes Hop Trip, Great Divide Wet Hop
Pepperoni pizza and beer
If you’ve got one of The Pizza Plant’s Everything but the Hog pizzas in your freezer, you’ll need an IPA on hand. The punch of hoppiness brings out the spiciness of the plant-based pepperoni while still playing nicely with the salty creaminess of a non-dairy cheese. An IPA also contains a higher percentage of alcohol than most beers, so it’s wise to counter that with a hearty, gut-filling food like a cheesy, meaty plant-based pepperoni pizza pie.
Try these beers: Ballast Point Sculpin, Stone India Pale Ale, Lagunitas IPA
Sausage pizza and beer
Typically spiced with sage, fennel, and thyme, a sausage-topped pizza goes hand in hand with an earthy beverage. Again, we recommend reaching for a pale ale, but a specific type—biere de garde. It’s a strong, hoppy ale typically brewed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France. But don’t worry, you can find plenty of them at your local libations shop. Sip it in between mouthfuls of pizza to cleanse the palate and prepare for the next delicious bite. Alternatively, some people really love a chocolatey stout with this style of pizza. The earthy tones compliment the spices in the sausage and the sweetness adds a balance to the spice. To this we say: we’ll try anything once.
Try these beers: 3 Monts, Great Divide Yeti, Hill Farmstead Brewery Biere de Norma
We’re acutely aware—there are far more than three styles of plant-based pizza—but it’s fair to conclude that a pale ale is a safe bet for most. So, after you’ve picked up The Pizza Plant Everything but the Hog or a Salsiccia Italiano at Whole Foods, Gelsons, (or online) swing buy your local BevMo or microbrewery to find your pizza’s perfect beer pairing.
Remember to follow us on Instagram @thepizzaplantusa for drool-worthy pizza pics (you’ve got to capture that vegan cheese pull!), perfect pizza pairings, new store distribution, and more!