Labor Day has come and gone, the wind’s picking up, and there’s a chill in the air at night. School’s back in session, and life seems to be clocking back in. A new month means a new specialty pizza over at Pietro’s, on Kirkwood Highway (right by the Western YMCA), and an almost totally different draft beer lineup than the last time I was there. Pietro’s seems to be saying goodbye to the Summer as well; the pizza this month is a Chicken Picatta, a final act of summery defiance against the growing autumn, so I paired it with a glass of Mango Gold—made with real mangoes.
Mangoes and I have a good history together. We first met at a roadside stand in Kenya, where our guide had pulled us over to eat some local fruit. He ate it with us; it was a treat for him, too. Money changed hands, a few were selected, and before I knew it, there was a neatly scored half of a very juicy fruit dripping into my hand. It smelled heavenly, and since, I’ve never been able to pass up the flavor. Inevitably, some are better than others, the best being the flavors made with real mangoes. Argilla’s Mango Gold is just that, but with the trademark slight bitterness of beers everywhere. The Gold ale aspect of the beverage builds upon the already solid reputation Argilla’s beers have earned themselves. It was light, and it was juicy, an excellent ‘outdoors on a sunny day’ beer.
It was a good choice to pair up the Mango Gold with this month’s pizza. I had never had a picatta dish before, so I was a little blown away by capers and lemons at the same time. I don’t always enjoy chicken, but the chicken on this pizza was tender and juicy, and also tasted of lemon. The lemon was in every bite of this pizza. Not a bad thing, but it began to toe the line by the end of my personal pizza. Two full-size slices would have been the perfect amount, I think, and I certainly recommend that. If you’ve never had capers before, I assure you they’re nothing to fear. Grapes are sweet and sort of pop with juicy, fruity goodness. Capers are sort of like that, if you replace the sweetness and fruitiness with the sort of bitter richness that they share with olives. They’re not all that great on their own, but—like swiss cheese—they’re phenomenal at blending in with other flavors. Ignore them, and you’ll enjoy them (provided you like how they taste).
Personally, I welcome the Fall, but I’m not in school and I like the cold. Chilly air helps me to wake up, and what’s better than snuggling up under a big, warm blanket, away from the cold? When that time comes, you can be sure I’ll be drinking dark beers. As long as Summer’s still hanging on, though, I’ll be enjoying light, refreshing flavors like these.