The easy part of having a great chef cook us a pizza and challenge us to create a beer to pair with it was eating the pizza. The hard part is actually creating the beer.
After Kelly and Peter and the crew left us with nothing but the memory of a pizza a few weeks back, we sat down and started thinking about a few ideas that might pair well with the challenge pizza.
If you recall, that pizza was made using a special dough from Peter that incorporated rye flour and even a bit of caramel malt that had been crushed to a fine powder. The dough was then topped with super fresh burrata, squash blossoms, white sardines, fresh arugula sprouts and flowers, preserved lemon and fennel salt along the crust. It was cooked in a brick oven that was close to 1000º F creating an incredible texture.
So what does one pair with such a unique pie? Patrick had some ideas and they, as usual, were obscure. A Biere De Garde brewed with roasted zucchini, lemon peel and fennel seed. He laid out the concept and Tyler went to work figuring out how to actually make it a reality.
We work all summer with our BBQ, roasting yams for Autumn Maple, so that would work similarly to the way we'd work in the roasted zucchini which should give the beer just a slight vegetal taste to pair nicely with the fresh arugula. Lemon peel, or citrus peel in general, is fairly common in brewing. Fennel isn't something seen too often, but we know the flavor well, that of black licorice, and we know how to use spices around here in a subtle way. Fennel, however, was the one thing we really weren't confident on the proportions for. We had to do some small tests on a beaker of one of our other beers that was somewhat similar in flavor to get an idea of how much fennel we'd want to try in the pilot brew.
Today, we tasted the pilot and started in on a full scale batch of this pizza challenge beer. We'll be unveiling the ale and it's accompanying pizza at an event in Denver surrounding GABF and we can't wait.
roasting some zucchini.
tasting the pilot.