The Science Behind Why Beer Is The Perfect Drink Pairing For Pizza

Beer has been a beloved alcoholic beverage since 4000 B.C. and was established as an everyday staple in ancient Egypt. Evidenced by the thousands of types of beer that exist today, love for the tipple has only continued to grow. Its global adoration is on par with its most compatible food pairing: pizza. Not only are pizza and beer a perfect flavor pairing (even endorsed by Italians who are notoriously fussy about food rules) but matching pizza and beer also has a scientific explanation.

While pizza is arguably the world's favorite comfort food, it isn't always the easiest meal to digest. This is where beer comes in. As a fermented yeast beverage, beer introduces beneficial bacteria to your gut. Along with diversifying your gut microbiome, beer's carbonation can be a digestion aid that'll assist you during and after pizza consumption. 

Carbonation has proven benefits to digestive health, starting with the stimulating effect the bubbles have on the esophagus that facilitates swallowing. The most obvious benefit of carbonation is burping, which brings instant relief to a tummy full of pizza, or a tummy ache after eating too much pizza for that matter. Lastly, studies of fizzy water show that carbonation aids in digestive circulation. So beer should help pizza leave your digestive tract as much as it helps you ingest it. Of course, this is all just validation for a well-known taste pairing. That said, perhaps now you'll opt for an especially carbonated brew for pizza night.

Beer and carbonated beverage pairings for pizza

Beer is carbonated, but its countless varieties offer a diversity of carbonation levels, to say nothing of wildly different tasting notes. So, which beer makes the best pairing for pizza? That depends on the pizza in question. Tasting Table provides an in-depth guide to the best beers to pair with pizza with help from a certified cicerone and numerous national and local beer breweries. Suggestions include a bitter, crisp pilsner to cut through the fattiness and spice of a pepperoni pizza, a yeasty, fruity, and sweet yeast beer to pair with pineapple on a Hawaiian pizza, and a hops-filled American pale ale to balance the creamy richness of a white pizza.

Whichever beer you choose, make sure it's ice cold as lower temperatures enhance carbonation. If you aren't a beer fan, try a fizzy dry cider, hard seltzer, or any of a selection of dry sparkling wines, such as prosecco or brut rosé. Of course, carbonated beverages don't have to be alcoholic; sparkling water or your favorite soft drink can satisfy the digestive requirements for a pizza pairing that's also kid-approved.