California Pizza Kitchen made news recently when it introduced wine flights, new craft beers and something the company is calling a “Diet Pepsi mixology program” (unique Pepsi/juice/fruit combinations). CPK has offered alcohol on its menu since the ’80s, but this fun new way to experience the pizzeria’s beverages accommodates everyone–wine drinkers, beer lovers, and those interested in nonalcoholic beverages.
The idea of pairing food with wine and beer is not new, but the trend is really picking up steam in pizzerias as operators see how popular wine- and beer-pairing nights are with customers. If you serve alcohol, consider hosting a pairing night once a month, creating a pairing guide to include in your menu, or designing wine/beer flights that are complementary to your dishes.
Below are a few pizzerias that are finding success with the pairing trend.
Sal & Mookie’s in Jackson, Mississippi, regularly holds beer pairing dinners in which they present five courses, each paired with a different beer from a local brewery. The dinners are a set price, reservations are required, and they always sell out.
Bertucci’s, with locations throughout the northeast, created a custom Art of Pairing menu by working hand-in-hand with Samuel Adams to choose brews that would pair well with specific pizzas on its menu.
Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington, D.C., recently hosted an Italian Craft Beer Dinner, pairing six craft beers with a six-course dinner for $65 (including tax and gratuity).
Flying Pie Pizzaria in Boise, Idaho, takes the guesswork out of pairing by listing a beer and wine pair next to every pizza on its menu.
Frasca Pizzeria + Wine Bar in Chicago, offers its customers pizza cooking classes, which include instruction, pizza and two glasses of wine for $30.
Are you doing something interesting with beverage pairings? Let us know in the comments section below.