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Chew On This

So Happy Together!

By Rachel Breit Photos By Rachel Breit
April 14, 2013

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Milk and cookies, coffee and donuts, wine and cheese — these are golden gastronomic pairings of food and drink. Although at times helpful, you don’t need a sommelier to tell you what’s good: you’ll know.

Which brings us to pizza and its perfect complement, beer. Aptly stated by Makayla Farley: “Pizza and beer were made for each other.” And lucky for Inferno’s Wood Fire Pizza server Farley and the rest of us, Inferno’s has landed on a recipe for success — kiawe wood-fired pizza and Hawaiian Islands Brewing Company beer on tap, both hand-crafted on the premises.

While you probably have a favorite go-to, broaden your beer horizons and order the four beer sampler ($8). Pick from the numerous ones on tap, and, unless you are a freak for spice or plan to order a milder pizza, avoid the (albeit delicious and boozy) Imperial IPA. The HI Brew, Lei ‘O Mano IPA, Mango Wheat Ale and Macadamia Nut Brown are a good line up for a pizza and beer pairing taste test.

And what’s your pick of pizza? No need for the menu, this one’s not on it. White Anchovy Jalapeno Garlic pizza ($15), invented out of hunger by owner Kyle Okumoto and his staff, is “epic.” It’s what you want from a pizza: salty, creamy and with a kick of buttery garlic and pickled jalapenos. Here’s how the four beers match up to it.

The HI Brew Lager is an all-around refreshing, thirst-quenching, warm-weather beer. Its German style is a bonus for pizza pairing; though light, it’s more hopped than its American counterparts. Tasting of citrus, spice and pine, it is the hops, like in the Lei ‘O Mano IPA (which is more hoppy, yet not overly spicy), that cuts through the oils of the cheese and anchovies. These two beers provide the right amount of clean-tasting refreshment and bubbles to cleanse your mouth between bites of fresh mozzarella; salty, savory anchovy; and sauceless, yet olive-oil doused dough.

The delicate and floral Mango Wheat Ale, like a hefeweizen or Belgian white, has a low hop profile. Although hops may be good for refreshment, this ale’s more yeasty flavor and soft mouthfeel (less carbonation) mingle well with Inferno’s dough made from Italian-imported flour. The slight sweetness of the mango extinguishes the lingering fire of the jalapeno and soothes your tongue in preparation for the next piquant bite. Similarly, the Macadamia Nut Brown Ale plays up the toasted flavors of the wood-fired dough with its — you guessed it — nutty, caramel flavors. Its maltiness also cools the pepper’s heat.

As you can see (or taste), each beer complements the pizza’s ingredients in a different way. Find out which beer is the best pairing for your tastes.

Inferno’s Wood Fire Pizza

Ward Center
1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
375-1200
Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m; Happy Hour 4-7 p.m.