Why does beer go so well with pizza?

Pizza and Pints: The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Beer with Pizza

Ever found yourself reaching for a cold beer to accompany your hot, cheesy pizza? There’s a scientific reason why this classic combination tastes so great. Beer pairs well with pizza due to the harmony of contrasting and complementary flavours. The beer’s carbonation, bitterness, and malt sweetness enhance the taste of the pizza’s cheese, crust, and sauce, resulting in an appealing combination.

The Intriguing Science Behind the Beer-Pizza Pairing

Ever wondered why a bite of piping-hot pizza followed by a sip of frosty beer results in such a delightful sensory experience? Let’s plunge into the fascinating science behind this gastronomic match made in heaven.

Primarily, the magic lies in the counterbalancing of flavours. With its rich, melted cheese and tangy tomato sauce, pizza demands a counterpart to cut through the fatty, creamy, and acidic notes. That’s where beer steps onto centre stage. The carbonation in beer acts as a palate cleanser, scrubbing your taste buds clean and prepping them for the next delicious slice. Additionally, the bitter elements in beer, primarily from hops, provide a striking contrast to the pizza’s sweetness, derived from its dough and caramelised toppings.

But it’s not all about opposition. Harmonious interactions play a crucial role, too. The malty sweetness in many beers complements the charred crust and caramelised toppings of a well-cooked pizza, enhancing those delectable savoury notes. The savoury umami flavours in both pizza and beer intensify each other, making that combination of a cheesy slice and a cool brew all the more mouthwatering.

Next time you indulge in your favourite pizza, remember that the beer’s sweet maltiness complements the smoky crust, its bitterness resets your palate for the next bite, and the carbonation keeps the meal from feeling too heavy.

But this pairing isn’t just a happenstance of delightful science. There’s a cultural story to tell as well. Do Italians, famed for their world-class pizzas, traditionally pair their slices with a pint? Let’s journey into Italy to unveil the truth and, in doing so, deepen our understanding of this delightful duo.

Do Italians Drink Beer with Pizza? Unveiling the Truth

Let’s shatter a stereotype right off the bat: Italians don’t just drink wine with their meals, and that includes their world-renowned pizzas. Over recent years, Italy has seen a burgeoning craft beer movement, with a surge of microbreweries concocting brews that can stand toe-to-toe with the country’s best wines. So, yes, many Italians do enjoy a frosty pint of beer with their pizza, making the pairing as cherished in Rome as it is in Reading.

Why do Italians drink beer with pizza?
Why do Italians drink beer with pizza?

But why has this combination gained traction in a land known for its vibrant vineyards? The answer lies in the parallel evolution of Italian cuisine and beer. Italian pizza varies wildly from region to region, from the thin, crispy base of a Neapolitan, laden with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, to the thick, bready crust of a Roman pizza. Just as regional pizzas have their unique characteristics, so do Italian beers, with styles as diverse as their vinous counterparts.

Craft beers provide an exciting array of taste profiles that can elevate your pizza experience. For instance, the bitter, floral notes of an Italian IPA cut through the richness of the cheese, while the sweetness of an Amber Ale complements the caramelised crust perfectly. Even traditional lagers, with their crisp and clean flavour, work wonderfully with a simple Margherita pizza.

The rise of beer in Italy is a testament to the ever-evolving taste preferences of the Italians and their continuous quest for gastronomic excellence. Beer has found its place at the Italian dining table, proudly accompanying the beloved pizza, each sip and bite a celebration of Italian culinary innovation.

But how do we take this knowledge and apply it to our own pizza and beer experience? Let’s look at some top pairings you could try the next time you’re sat before a cheesy slice and a chilled pint, ready to dive into a culinary adventure.

What Beer Goes with Pizza? Top Pairings to Try

Embarking on a flavour adventure, pairing beer with pizza is a delightful experiment that gives a nod to the classic Italian tradition. Akin to finding your perfect dance partner, matching the right beer with a pizza involves balancing the complementary and contrasting flavours. So, let’s unlock a world of epicurean delight with some top beer and pizza pairings to try.

An American Pale Ale, such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, makes a splendid partner if you’re indulging in a classic Margherita, boasting a beautiful blend of tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil. Sierra Nevada’s crisp citrus undertones cut through the rich, creamy mozzarella, while its moderate bitterness counterbalances the sweetness of the tomatoes.

Consider reaching for a session IPA like Beavertown’s Neck Oil when tucking into a pepperoni pizza. With its distinct hoppy aroma and notes of citrus, the light yet assertive bitterness of Neck Oil stands up well to the spiciness of pepperoni. Additionally, its crisp carbonation and lighter body help cut through the oiliness of the meat.

A Brown Ale, such as Newcastle Brown Ale, is an excellent choice for pizzas adorned with robust, earthy toppings like mushrooms and truffle. Its malty sweetness and nutty undertones complement the earthy flavours, adding depth to the overall taste profile.

Pizzas that feature sweet, chocolatey or fruity toppings can be matched with a rich and robust Stout or Porter, like Guinness. The beer’s dark, roasted flavours and notes of chocolate or coffee create a delightful alliance with a sweet pizza, turning it into a decadent dessert experience.

And, of course, we must remember the controversial pineapple-topped Hawaiian pizza. Whether it’s an ingenious fusion of sweet and savoury or a culinary misstep, pairing it with a fruity wheat beer like Blue Moon Belgian White could help you decide.

Ultimately, the best beer and pizza pairing is often a matter of personal preference, with endless combinations to explore. But as we raise a pint to the Italian tradition of beer and pizza, we remember the artistry and science behind it, making each sip and bite a tribute to a timeless culinary bond.


The pairing of beer and pizza is all about balance and harmony of flavours. Whether it’s the contrasting bitter hops with sweet dough or the complementing malt with tangy sauce, beer enhances the taste of pizza, making it a popular choice worldwide. Next time you enjoy a slice of pizza, try it with a beer that matches your topping decisions – you might discover your new favourite pairing.

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