Beer and pizza go together like, well, milk and cookies or maybe margaritas and tacos. Fast-food operations aside, it’s impossible to imagine a pizza parlor that doesn’t offer a good choice of brews, and many’s the tavern that serves up bar pies to accompany its lagers and stouts.
According to a new report by the food-service industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News, though, beer and pizza have been getting a lot more intimate with each other than you might think. According to Bret Thorn, NRN’s senior food editor, brewery-associated restaurants around the country are incorporating beer into the pizza itself.
The 13-unit RAM Restaurant & Brewery chain in the state of Washington, for instance, makes its pizza crust with its own Big Horn Hefewizen in place of water, and blends a paste made from grain left over from the brewing of its Big Red IPA into the flour. Short’s Brewing Company in Michigan makes the crust with for the pizza it serves at its Bellaire Pub with its Local Light Lager, and works malt powder from its malt supplier into the recipe. Besides adding flavor to the crust, according to a RAM spokesman, the beer makes it crispier. (These are America’s 15 greatest pizza styles.)
NRN cites a study from the menu research firm Technomic revealing that been is the fastest-growing ingredient in pizza, up 92.3% over 2022. That includes not only beer in the crust but also beer cheese on the pie and various proteins cooked in beer as a topping. The Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant chain, which has 22 units across five states, for instance, uses its Vienna Red Lager to make the barbecue sauce that graces its Voodoo Chicken Pizza.
Beer as an ingredient shows up in other foods, too, of course. As one example, the snack food and pie producer called The Drunk Alpaca, based in Trumbull, CT, uses local craft brews for a whole line of beer-glazed potato chips. (See our ranking of the 20 craft beers Americans like the most.)