The pairing of food and beer is relatively new, especially compared to classic pairings between various types of food with varietals of wine. This is starting to change with the evolution of gastropubs and the expanded popularity of craft beer as many fine dining restaurants now have well developed beer menus. One type of food that has always seemed to pair well with beer is pizza. While most Italian/Italian American food has held hard to wine pairing, pizzerias have long embraced beer. One of my favorite local pizzerias is Za in Kendall Square, Cambridge (they also have a location in Arlington). Za makes a variety of high quality and creative pies. While you can design your own 10″ pizza using a number of fresh and locally sourced toppings, I recommend trying some of the specialty pizzas. A personal favorite is chorizo, dill pickles and mustard, I know it sounds really weird but it is amazing!
While the food at Za is great, this is a beer blog and nothing pairs better with a high quality pizza than a great craft beer. Za clearly takes some pride in their beer menu, it features a number of quality local selections on draft and more in cans and bottles. On a recent visit every draft selection was from a New England brewery, with choices from Jack’s Abby, Slumbrew, Cambridge Brewing Company, Clown Shoes, Peak Organic, Smuttynose and Gritty McDuff’s. This is supplemented by a number of local bottles and cans, including beers from Cisco, Newburyport, Notch, Sam Adams, Wachusett, Berkshire and Grey Sail. There is also a good range of styles, from sessionable pilsners to hop bomp IPAs, spicy Belgian witbiers to malty dark stouts. So regardless of your personal style of beers and pizza toppings, you should find a match Za in Cambridge. Check out their WEBSITE.