My year started with a trip to Argilla Brewery at Pietro’s Pizza; my resolution being something along the lines of “no steps backward: only forward.” My first step in the right direction was to see what pizza would be set before me this month.
One glance at the little chalkboard, and I already liked it (though I do know not to judge a book by its cover). I probably got more enjoyment out of ordering a personal Sticky Albino than I should have, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Pietro’s Sticky Albino is a white base pie with shredded mozzarella, goat cheese, and fried onions, drizzled with honey after it’s removed from the pizza oven. We say drizzled, but I didn’t find myself pining for more honey as I was eating my pie. That being said, my hair is longer than my girlfriend’s, and I didn’t get anything sticky in my hair even though it wasn’t in a ponytail. If you can’t abide by sticky hands, though, this may be a fork and knife affair for you. Scandalous, I know, to eat a pizza with utensils, but this creative combination of flavors is one you don’t want to miss.
The first thing I’d like to talk about is how much of a joy warm honey is to eat. It’s smooth, not at all sticky or clumpy in your mouth, and exactly the sort of sweet I have a very hard time putting down. I tend to shy away from sweets themselves, and dessert is an occasional thing in my life: the sweetness there is simply more than I prefer. A relentlessly cheesy pizza slathered in honey, however, has just the right sort of sweet to please my palate immensely. The key is that I could still enjoy the flavors brought in by the other ingredients, particularly the onions. I was completely surprised by how tasty the onions and honey are together, though cooked onions really go with most things and honey, as I’ve discussed, is delicious. Having two different cheeses (not including the sauce) was another piece that makes this pizza excellent; as it cooled, the mozzarella firmed up, whereas the goat cheese (which reminded me of a softer ricotta) stayed soft and more spreadable than sliceable, but still more solid than the sauce. Every month, I think I know what to expect from Pietro’s crust (seems like by now I should have it figured out), but it seems to outperform itself with every new and interesting pizza concoction. I was amazed it held up to the amount of moisture placed upon it, but then again, it didn’t turn to mush with the Caprese Pizza toppings either, so maybe I’m just a pessimist.
I don’t have the best history when it comes to pairing Argilla’s beers with Pietro’s pizzas. I frequently order a beer before I look at the pizza, and wind up with two unrelated flavor profiles. I broke the streak this time: a glass of Boysenberry Whipped was just the thing to go with all this honey and cheese. A fruited sour ale, it’s wheat beer brewed with lactose before being conditioned on vanilla and boysenberry puree. One of the least sour sours I’ve ever drunk—and one of my favorites. I’m really a sucker for blackberries, which are one of the components when breeding boysenberries (they’re apparently an aggregate fruit). The boysenberry, and in turn the glass of beer I had this week, inherit my favorite parts of the blackberry flavor, and because of that, I couldn’t stop myself from having twice as many as I normally drink with a personal pizza.
It was a great meal. The Sticky Albino is perhaps my favorite monthly pizza so far, and The Boysenberry Whipped was a shoo-in for my top five beers (in no particular order) at Argilla. I promise, if they ever stop making delicious things, I won’t lie to you about it. This year, however, they’re 1/1.