As I sit here on a drizzly Pacific Northwest Saturday night, I am watching coverage of the historic blizzard that is pounding the East Coast. I have to admit I am a little jealous- although I’m certain that many residents in New York, Washington D.C. and surrounding areas might tell me to be careful what I wish for.
The thought of having to hunker down as snow is blowing sideways and piling up into giant drifts is one that is unique to us Pacific Northwesterners. But even the mental image of shoveling snow for a few hours in frigid temperatures is appealing because nothing tastes better after cold weather exertion than Pizza and Beer.
Of course this is the perfect time for a mid January Pizza and Beer pairing.
And if I have to tell you why Pizza and Beer is gourmet- please re-read some past entries- or go see your psychologist.
A January Pizza and Beer pairing must be fit for a blizzard. It must have lots of flavor and lots of calories for all of the hours of snow shoveling. (Did you know that shoveling snow burns around 500 calories an hour?) It also must be comforting for hunkering down and watching the snow pile up out the window.
The duo that I have chosen is the Garlic Jim’s Hercules and Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ Ale. As I just mentioned, shoveling snow takes lots of effort- thus The Hercules. This pizza is an original and beloved creation from Garlic Jim’s. The Hercules doesn’t mess around with veggie toppings or any other topping ingredients that weren’t once…um…living mammals. (Sincere apologies to my vegetarian readers.) As you can imagine, the Hercules has some serious swagger. Salami. Pepperoni. Canadian Bacon. Beef. Italian Sausage. Bacon. BOOM!
Brown Shugga’ Ale from the Lagunitas brewing company is a hefty and simply scrumptious complement to the Hercules. As you may have guessed, Brown Shugga’ Ale is made by fermenting Brown Sugar. The sweet and malty taste goes oh-so-perfectly with an all meat pizza. I am told that Brown Shugga is a seasonal beer that Lagunitas rolls out during the holidays which is why it makes sense that it pairs well with smoky meats like bacon and the ham-like Canadian bacon. Also, this beer really brings out all of the great qualities of salami which is a cured sausage that contains fermented meat. Sugar and meat are just such a wonderful combination- don’t you think?
Even if you weren’t shoveling snow, just looking at snow sends signals to your brain that you really need some carbs and protein. It just seems right! Biting into a slice of hot and savory Hercules pizza is instant fulfillment. Washing it down with the sweet, strong yet mellow tones of Brown Shugga’ will make you feel warm and fuzzy- guaranteed. Now, for those of us who are not in the middle of a snowstorm, here is a list of ideas to make a Hercules and Brown Shugga’ meal deserving:
Cleaning gutters. Cleaning the garage. Taking down Christmas Lights. Washing your car (OK maybe 2 cars). Trimming trees. Gathering firewood. OK- I have helped you out enough- you get the point.
A note of warning for this bold and extremely enjoyable combination of calories and alcohol. You may need a nap after your comfort food bonanza. (Brown Shugga’ packs quite a punch so one serving will probably do it for you! No snowplow driving- seriously.)
But a nice nap is the perfect ending for a cold, hard working, snow shoveling (or garage cleaning), hearty, sweet and savory beer and pizza kind of day.
Ciao for now