Celebrating Pizza and Beer

It’s hard to go past the winning combination of pizza and beer. The mouth-watering flavours of your favourite pizza, washed down with a cool crisp lager… ahhhh perfection. With Pizza and Beer Day coming up, we thought we’d take a look at the history of beer and pizza in Australia and look into why these two unlikely partners came to be such a popular combination!

Photo of friends sharing pizza and beer

The history of beer in Australia

Australia has always been amongst the world’s great beer brewing nations. Early settler James Boston created the first official beer in the  colony of New South Wales. His brew utilised Indian corn, bittered with cape gooseberry leaves. From there, the first public house was opened in 1796 in Parramatta by freed convict James Larra. This was closely followed by James Squire’s successful cultivation of hops in 1804, reducing the need for importing the essential beer ingredient.

When most people imagine the early years of European settlement in Australia, rum is conjured up as the drink of choice. After all, it was often used as a currency. However, increasing cases of public drunkenness prompted authorities to promote beer as a healthier and lower alcohol alternative. Before long, each colony had their own brewers. In New South Wales, the well-known Tooth brewery opened its doors in 1835 producing KB Lager and Reschs, to name just a few.

Photo of man brewing beer

Australians just love a good beer

In recent years, beer production in Australia has shown no signs of slowing down. There are countless micro-breweries popping up all over the country. Microbreweries, or craft breweries, are small boutique breweries. They produce lower volumes of beer but prioritise quality over quantity. Microbreweries usually focus on specific flavour profiles unique to that brewery.  Port Macquarie is actually home to several micro-breweries, namely Black Duck Brewery, Moorebeer Brewing Co. and The Little Brewing Company. The amateur brewing scene is booming in Port Macquarie, and we are lucky enough to have a Beer and Cider Festival. So we think it’s safe to say that beer culture is alive and well in Port Macquarie!

The long road to pizza popularity

The road to mainstream pizza in Australia was a much longer one. Pizza started to appear in small pockets of Melbourne in the 1920s via Italian immigrants, but it wasn’t until after World War II with mass immigration, when pizzerias started to pop up in the capital cities. The taste for this new treat grew and by the 1970s, pizza had cemented itself as one of our nation’s favourite meals. These days, Pizza is a regular staple in most Australian households, with most families eating it at least once a fortnight!

Photo of pizzas and glass of wine at Hastings Coffee Co. similar to those being served on International Pizza and Beer Day

Why Pizza and Beer?

With Pizza originated in Italy, where wine is the drink of choice. So beer doesn’t seem to be the obvious choice when it comes to pairing a beverage with your favourite pizza. As it turns out, the carbonation in beer creates a small amount of acidity. The acidity ‘cuts through’ the fat in the pizza cheese which means that your palate is cleansed each time you take a sip. It allows you to enjoy the full flavour of the pizza without too much ‘greasiness’ getting in the way of your taste buds’ pleasure.

Some might also argue that the yeast in pizza pairs well with the yeast in the beer. This means that this unlikely pair end up complementing each other in terms of flavour. There are some basics you can follow to ensure the right match.

With so many craft beers on the market, it should be easy to find a beer with the flavour profile to complement your pizza. Here are some helpful hints on which beers go with what pizza:

Classic Cheese American Pale Ale – the mellow hop profile and mild bitterness helps to cut through all the cheese
Hawaiian A classic Golden Ale with a light body and citrusy hop will pair well and bring out the flavour of the
ham and sweetness of the pineapple.
Meatlovers Try a beer with a rich and smokey undertone to complement and enhance all that meaty flavour.
Vegetarian Pair with a beer with fruity, light aroma
Seafood Pair with a citrusy wheat beer – the tartness will help to bring out the flavour of the seafood.

International Pizza and Beer Day

International Pizza and Beer Day is held every year on 9 October.

To celebrate Pizza and Beer Day, Hastings Coffee Co. will have handmade pizzas available from 11am. We’ll have 8 different types of pizza on offer for you to try, including two decadent dessert pizzas. You can also enjoy your pizza with a variety of sides, including garlic bread, cheesy bread or a Greek salad. It wouldn’t be complete without a refreshing ale, so you’ll also be able to enjoy 4 Coronas for $20.*

You can read more about Pizza and Beer Day and view the full menu here.

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