Webisodes
Birra Basta - The Finale
Peter Reinhart

So we come to the end of the story, at least this story that began with Kelly Whitaker and I challenging Patrick Rue to make a beer inspired by a pizza. If you've been following it from the start this finale segment is kind of a denouement, as we, sated and satisfied, drift off into the Denver sunset, having our own Pizza Quest version of a Rocky Mountain high. If you are just joining us, please go back, via the Webisodes button above, and catch up -- it will quite enjoyable, I promise.

In this final segment, Kelly decided to tweak the "Challenge Pizza" by replacing the white anchovies with house cured pork belly. In retrospect, I wish we could have done one more version, with both the bacon and the anchovies but, hey, the sun was going down, we were were running out of ingredients, that amazing Birra Basta was waiting for us, and the keg was getting quickly drained by the rest of our thirsty crew. Besides, the switch to pork belly gave us a chance, after doing dozens of these webisodes, to get one of my all-time favorite sound bites, as you will hear, this one from beer maker extraordinaire, Patrick Rue: "Bacon is my favorite vegetable."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Challenge Pizza, The Big Reveal
Peter Reinhart

So, if you've been following our webisode series, we've been building up to the moment when the pizza, created by Kelly Whitaker and Alan Henkin of Basta, along with me and the Pizza Quest team -- who came up with the Germainia Malted Dough -- finally meet the beer created by Patrick Rue and his Bruery team. In the previous segment, we showed the Bruery guys two different pizzas and they chose the white one, which you will see again in this segment. The brewers then went to work and came up with a one of a kind biere de garde, which they called Birra Basta (we love that name!), made with citrus peels, roasted zucchini, a secret blend of hops and malts and other spices. Finally, months later, we all met in Denver, a few blocks from the Great American Beer Festival, at the Summit Beer Garden for, what we've been calling, The Big Reveal. This is the moment when the beer and the pizza finally come face to face -- right into our faces, of course -- and we find out if, indeed, a beer can be inspired by food in the same manner as food is often inspired by beer. As you will see, the answer is a resounding YES.

As you watch, make note of the incredibly beautiful amber luster of the beer -- it seems to glow and to scream out "Drink me!"  And note, of course, the wonderful burrata cheese, white anchovies, squash blossoms, and Meyer lemon puree on the pizza, topped by dressed arugula and fennel pollen salt. What you can't experience through the video, sadly, is the unique, rich, toasty flavor of the beer -- the grilled zucchini in the wort provided a deep bass note that, in my opinion, forged a unique bridge between the pizza and the beer. At one point, as you will see, it seemed hard to tell where the beer ended and the pizza began, as their flavors merged seamlessly. Also, you will want to one day make that Germainia Malt dough that, from the pizza side, provided the same bass note that the zucchini did for the beer. I love this dough! I will re-post the recipe for it in a few weeks but, just to tease things a little, be on the look out here for an announcement that our friends at Central Milling will be packaging and making available, in the near future, a kit with all the ingredients for this dough (along with a few other signature Pizza Quest dough mixes too).  We will announce it right here on the home page as soon as we have all the details worked out.

While we wish all of you could have been there to taste this once in a lifetime combination (the Bruery has told us this beer was a one time thing, so, as the saying goes, you had to be there -- sorry!), at least enjoy it vicariously through this webisode segment, The Big Reveal, and let it inspire you to challenge your local micro-breweries to a similar throw-down or, at least, to stage your own inventive pizza/beer tastings.

Note: We have one bonus segment left to show you in this Beer Challenge series, coming up in a few weeks. As you will see here, we decided to tweak the pizza with pork belly, so we want you to see how that one turned out too. Still to come, so check back....

 
The Challenge Pizza, Final Selection
Peter Reinhart

In our previous webisode we made two different pizzas for Patrick Rue and his team and challenged them to create a beer inspired by one of them. In this segment, you will see the choice that Patrick and his head brewer Tyler made, as well as an interesting discussion on the thinking behind all the choices. The red pizza was made with spiced pork jowl (guanciale), local pistachios, Mimolette cheese, fresh local mozzarella (Gioa brand), and Bianco-DiNapoli tomato sauce. The white pizza was made with buratta cheese (Bel Gioioso brand), squash blossoms, preserved lemons, white anchovies (baccarones), then topped with arugula that had been dressed with olive oil. It was then garnished with fennel pollen salt. Both pizzas were made on a malted "Germainia" dough (Germania is a unique flour blend, from our friends at Central Milling, that includes pumpernickel flour).

I'll let the video take it from here as we leave the Bruery team to create a beer inspired by their pizza choice. Next stop, Denver, and The Great American Beer Festival for what we are calling The Big Reveal. Enjoy!

 

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Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.

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