Instead of making food to pair with a specific beer, why not make a beer that pairs with a specific food?
That was a question Peter Reinhart posed when he was filming Boulder's Pizzeria Basta for Pizza Quest, his pizza blog. Patrick Rue, master brewer at The Bruery, happened to be in the room at the time, and so a collaboration project was born: Pizzeria Basta's Kelly Whitaker would supply a pizza, and the Bruery would make a beer to match it.
Reinhart, Whitaker, Al Henkin -- the co-owner of Basta -- and Rue convened at the Bruery's brewery in Los Angeles, where the group filmed the entire project, starting with a discussion of what goes into a perfect beer pairing. Then Henkin, Whitaker and Reinhart put together the pizzas that the Bruery would use as reference.
"Peter made his own crust," explains Whitaker. "And Al and I went to all of these cool shops in L.A. to get ingredients. We set up the mobile oven and presented two pizzas." Rue decided to forgo the standard tomato sauce-based pie, going instead for a white pizza, which was topped with fresh burrata, squash blossoms, sardines, arugula sprouts, preserved lemon and fennel salt.
And as the rest of the team packed up their supplies and flew home, Rue got started on a beer to pair with that pizza.
"He's starting with a Biere de Garde," says Whitaker. "And he'll play around with those flavors." Ultimately, the chef continues, the light saison-style ale will probably pick up notes of fennel, the brininess of the anchovies and the green notes of the zucchini flowers -- though no one will know for sure what's in the finished product until Rue rolls it out.
That will happen during the Great American Beer Festival at the end of September, at a beer garden that will be set up across the street from Falling Rock. After that, Pizzeria Basta will pour the special release on tap -- and that will be the only place in the country where you can get it.
As for those videos, they'll air on Reinhart's website in anticipation of the launch.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.