Richard Armitage’s perfect Saturday afternoon

In two words: Pizza and Beer. Oh and something about watching rugby on telly, but as rugby is a total mystery to me and I really don’t get any of it, I’ll focus on the first two things – both of which I can relate to very well … one more than the other.

I know a lot about how to eat pizza, I can make many different ones and the Squeeze and I have gone to the Robin Hood Beer Festival in October for the past four or five years now. It’s the one time of year I get drunk, and then it’s not for the sake of getting drunk, it’s because I’m not very used to alcohol (seriously, I’m such a cheap date) and love trying lots of different flavours! I don’t know anything about beer more than “ale is darker and drinkable, lager is lighter and tastes absolutely awful, and stout is black with a creamy head” – oh and the water, malt and hops bit – so as I was thinking what kind of beer would go best with which pizza and finding I haven’t got the foggiest, I thought of who would be the best person to ask. The organisers of the beer festival, of course! So here’s a little interview with Iain R Loe of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA):

A cold beer and a curry is a common pairing, and I would think pizza is another one. Is beer the best accompaniment to this Italian classic?

Beer is fit for any occasion and for any food and drink pairing. There are well over 2,500 regularly produced real ales in the UK and many different beer styles to go with all types of food.

Generally speaking, what kind of beer would you recommend to have with a standard pizza? For instance, would it be a darker or a lighter beer?

I would suggest for pizza something light bodied as you say, around 4% abv, say the current Champion Beer of Britain Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale. Or perhaps Crouch Vale Brewers Gold. Oakham Brewery also brew a couple of beers that could fit the bill, such as White Dwarf and Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (JHB).

White wine with fish and red wine with meat is a rule of thumb in the wine world, would there be something similar in the world of beer and pizza? Does the type of beer that goes with it vary depending on the toppings?

Of course you can have all sorts of toppings on a pizza and you then make the decision on whether to have a beer whose flavour matches that of the food or acts as a contrast.

If we’re looking at a classic Margharita (tomato base with cheese), what do you think would go best with that? What would go best with ham & pineapple? Pepperoni? Meat Feast? Vegetarian?

I am not a great pizza eater myself so am probably not the best to comment but what I want when I have a beer with food is to have a beer that brings out the flavour of the food I am eating. So if you have a robust topping of beef or even curry you could go for a stronger more malty bitter or even a mild Hobson Mild. If you are going more Hawaiian then perhaps even a fruit flavour beer. With spicy foods you could also try a beer that has a good strong hop bitters character. Go American and try Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Cheese will also go better with beer than wine.

What’s the best ever pizza to have with a beer? Is there a match made in heaven?

Just experiment there are no hard and fast rules. Beer has far broader taste profiles than you will find with wine and there will be one that for you goes with the food you are eating but someone else may disagree. One book worth a look at is The Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver.

Coming soon to a
tavern near Hobbiton!

Is there a beer best suited for those of us who are trying to lose weight or is it better to just have a decent stout and just forget about the pizza instead?

If you are trying to cut down the calories and fat just leave out the pizza and drink the beer. Most real ales will come in at about 170 calories a pint, probably less than a glass of wine or an alco-pop.

Thank you very much for your help and for answering my bizarre questions, Mr. Loe! 😀

This post is part of FanstRAvaganza 2, a Richard Armitage fanblogging event running 14-21 March 2011. See all FanstRAvaganza posts from this blog.  This year’s other participants: An RA viewer’s perspective from 33°0’S of the equator, Avalon’s Blog, CDoart, Confessions of a Watcher, From the Quill Tip, Me + Richard, Mesmered’s Blog, Nevermind, Mr. Armitage, Phylly’s Faves, RA Frenzy, The RA Fan Blog, RA Vids & Graphics, The Spooks Fan Blog, and White Rose Writing.

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