How great is October. Not only is it National Chili month, it also has National Pizza and Beer Day. Time to get on a bike or a treadmill. There are so many great pizza places across our great state. Whether you like thick and rich, thin and mouthwatering, or make your own with leftovers, there are a ton of options for pizza.
My wife and I love to make small individual pizzas using the small Naan bread that you can find at Family Fare. We add left over chicken and make four different small pizzas using olive oil, olive pesto, red pepper spread, or BBQ sauce as the base. Two cheeses is a must. Onion and peppers always round them out. You can make extra and use it for lunch the next day.
What to pair with pizza? Bell’s Amber Ale is in our ad this week at Family Fare. It is a great tasting beer that helped build the Bells Brewery back in the 90’s. It has toasted and sweet caramel notes from carefully selected malts, balanced with herbal and citrus hop aromas. This is a very versatile beer with food. The ABV on this beer is 5.8%. Ambers are a classic with pizza. In ad in Michigan stores but available in all Family Fare stores at a great everyday price.
Soft Parade from Short’s Brewing, Bellaire and Elk Rapids, Michigan. Soft Parade is one of Joe Short’s original beer items that he made. Four types of real fruit, Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, and Strawberry make up the personality of this easy drinking beer. Joe refers to this beer as a beer with fruit and not a fruit beer. Joe had just made one of his first batches of this beer and was driving to Boyne City when song, “Soft Parade” came on the radio. Hence the moniker for this beer. I first tried this beer at the Villager Pub in Charlevoix and paired it with their famous ribs. This beer will go with any BBQ pizza you imagine. Mouthwatering. Available in Michigan stores.
Perrin Black is a black ale from Perrin Brewing on the north side of Grand Rapids. You have to go to their pub and try their food, it is phenomenal. It will take a few times to visit to try all the great menu items. There is outstanding food being made at Perrin. I read a Q and A online featuring Perrin’s John Stewart. The Perrin Black Ale has become Perrin’s flagship beer. Just like Two Hearted at Bells, the Perrin Black Ale took off right away. When asked why, John believes that it is the beer’s drinkability. He goes so far as to say it is such an easy sipper that it would make a great transition beer from macro to craft. Don’t let the dark hue scare you, this beer is very smooth. John indicates that some people think it’s a lager and not an ale because of its smoothness. The ABV is 5.8% and it has 22 IBUs. Available in Michigan stores.
Modelo Especial from Corona is a very hot beer right now. It has been showing strong growth for the last three years. A bold Mexican beer than Corona, Modelo is a classic, thirst quenching beer. Crisp and sweet are what characterize this pilsner from Modelo. ABV is 4.4% with 12 IBUs. This beer will go with any pizza. Available in all Family Fare stores.
Jaw Jacker from Arcadia brewing in Kalamazoo, Michigan is another great beer for pizza. I really like this beer for its drinkability and its ability to pair with many foods. I also love pumpkin pie which is probably why this beer is on my top 10 list. Even though there is no pumpkin in the Jaw Jacker recipe, one could only hope. If you get a chance to go to Arcadia’s brewery in Kalamazoo, you will be doing yourself a food favor. I go there just for the sides. Arcadia’s smoked meats are probably the best smoked meats I’ve tasted. The sides that go with the smoked meats is spot on and the Jaw Jacker pairs very well. You owe it to yourself to experience Arcadia Brewery. You will be happy you went and you will end up repeating your visits to this outstanding establishment. Available in Michigan stores.
Greg VanOverloop, Beer & Wine Specialist
- Started in the Grocery business bagging at D&W in 1975. Worked at D&W for 30 years in various departments.
- Worked at SpartanNash for 11 years. Currently the Category Manager for Wine/Beer/Spirits for SpartanNash East.
- Have been a category manager since 1990 and a category manager of beer since 1997. CM of wine and spirits since 2007.
- Have travelled extensively which provided the opportunity to taste many foods and beverages from Hong Kong to Caribbean, from California to Maine.
- Love to cook, grill, and bake, snow ski, sail, and read books. Best baked item – a bourbon pecan pie with rum crust. Best grilled item – salmon with blueberry onion wine sauce and goat cheese. Best cooked item – Squash Apple soup with bourbon. Best ski slope – Go Devil at Keystone. Best book – Wonder.
- 1 wife, 3 children, 7.3 grandchildren.