Third Annual Pizza & Beer Pairing at Chelsea’s Co. With Sixpoint Brewery

27 Feb

230 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10001

My ticket to this event was another Valentine’s Day gift to me this year (gurl done good!).  We arrived just as the event was starting at noon.  I didn’t take any pictures because I left my cell phone behind to charge, but to give you an idea of what Co. looks like…

That’s almost the entire restaurant right there with a bit of bench seating along the left wall not pictured.  The event, which ran from noon until 4pm, was extremely crowded at the beginning and so my girlfriend and I posted up on the bench and acted as hybrid consumers/coat-check station.  The pizza and beer was served buffet style: a quesadilla-sized slice and 4 0z. of beer served out of continuously refilled growlers.  The line was 20-people deep for the first half an hour.  I was actually nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to try everything.  Things got better.

Below I have recreated the menu for the Pizza & Beer Pairing with my notes in italics and a brief narrative as an afterward.

1.

Little Bzzz

The style of beer could be categorized as a classic Belgian-style golden ale, but it is made with an appropriate twist.  The Little Bzzz beer is made with a dash of honey, and fermented warm.  The result is a dry, spicy and light ale.  5.4% ABV, 34 IBU

This was the first beer that I tried (we initially planned to move in order…an idea that was jettisoned on our second visit to the sampling table).  Belgians have never been my favorite type of beer.  That being said, the Little Bzzz was actually fairly satisfying.  It was definitely dry and light, but I didn’t pick up as much on the spice as I did on the honey sweetness.

Rating: B

Mushroom & Jalapeno

bechamel, pecorino, gruyere, garlic confit, seasonal mushrooms, shaved jalapeno, fresh dill

As you will begin to see, there is a trend with the pecorino and gruyere.  I had no idea what the hell they were until I googled them.  Pecorino is a cheese made from ewe’s milk.  Gruyere is a hard, yellow Swiss cheese.  I also didn’t know that bechamel is a white sauce used often in French cuisine.  Alright, enough culinary knowledge bombs for one pizza aside…  Frankly, I had a few slices of this pizza and although somewhat enjoyable, most of the slices were populated by 1-2 massive bitter tasting fungi, a sprig of dill and no jalapeno.

Rating: C+

2.

Mad Scientists #8 (Berliner Weiss)

A beer modeled after the traditional tart wheat ale from Berlin, Germany, it pours an opaque golden color with a white head.  The clean, crisp, distinct wheat scent with tangy sweet notes perfectly matches the flavor with a pleasant sourness that is complimented by a “spritzy” carbonation.  3.5% ABV, 4 IBU

This was my least favorite beer at the tasting (and last to sample), though it wasn’t terrible.  The first thought that crossed my mind was “I wonder how many 4 oz. samples it would take to get drunk off of a beer with 3.5% alcohol by volume?”  The Mad Scientists #8 was definitely clean and sour, but the mouthfeel was too watery and the carbonation did not meet my definition of “spritzy.”

Rating: C

Popeye

pecorino, gruyere, mozzarella, spinach, black pepper, garlic

Even though I didn’t personally care for the beer that it was paired with, I though that this was one of the better pairings.  The light, sour beer was well-matched in washing down the white, peppery spinach pizza.  I had a few slices of this one.  Sometimes the spinach was way overboard (it covered the entire pizza) and other times it was right in line.

Rating: B-

3.

Righteous Ale

This beer is a style unto itself.  Its deep-orange color with aromas of citrus hops, malt and spices and flavors of crisp rye, bitter hops and fruit.  6.5% ABV, 58 IBU

This was my favorite beer of the tasting by far.  It was just a delicious and wonderfully balanced beer.  The fruity notes came through strong, but weren’t overpowering.  The finish was indeed crisp and satisfying.  At 6.5%, I probably shouldn’t have made it my after 2pm session beer…

Rating: A

Ham & Cheese

pecorino, gruyere, mozzarella, prosciutto, caraway

My girlfriend thought this pizza was too salty, but her first slice also dragged the prosciutto from two or three neighboring slices along with it.  I have a ridiculous savory tooth and I love white pizza.  The pairing honestly didn’t do a whole lot for the Righteous Ale, but once 3pm hit, I was taking two or three slices of this one at a time versus some of the other options.

Rating: A-

4.

Brownstone

The Brownstone is dark amber in color with a strong nut, malt and bread aroma and flavors of dark malt, hazelnuts and sweet toffee.  Brewed with 11 different malt varieties.  5.8% ABV, 44 IBU

I used to drink a lot of brown ales and the Brownstone makes me want to start again.  It was definitely a shade darker than “dark amber” and stoutier than I’m used to to in a brown ale, but the rest of the description was pretty spot on with the possible exception of the number of malt varieties…my pallet isn’t advanced enough to allow me to count.  But seriously, the Brownstone was very tasty (my girlfriend raved about it and spent the better part of 2pm until after 3 sipping on it).  I’ll definitely seek it out again.

Rating: A

Margherita

tomato, mozzarella, basil, parmesan

If cheese pizza is the most fundamental of all pizzas, a margherita pizza is the next step.  The Margherita was simple and tasty as expected, but it didn’t necessarily compliment the Brownstone.  Maybe Co. was at a loss as far as what type of pizza could be paired with a brown ale?  I’m at a loss myself frankly.  Do any pizzas incorporate gravy?

Rating: B

5.

7th Anniversary Ale

Brewed in celebration of our 7th anniversary, this hybrid between a red ale, Belgian ale and IPA is deep red in color with a thick creamy dark-white, almost vanilla-colored head and strong lacing.  The rich malty scent combines with a slightly sweet and pleasant hop aroma.  The strong hop presence fades out to the estery fruitiness created by a special Belgian yeast.  7.0% ABV, 77 IBU

The 7th Anniversary Ale was another very enjoyable treat.  The venue was encouraging patrons to reuse their glasses for obvious reasons, but the heavy lacing from the Anniversary Ale had me switch at least two glasses.  The aroma was impressive as it offered a balance of sweet, caramel malts and bitter hops.  The taste followed form adding a citrus-y, fruit aspect.  The warmth of the beer (due to ABV) may have been what drove me away from more than a couple samples.  It was the early afternoon for heaven’s sake.

Rating: A-

Meatball

tomato, mozzarella, veal meatballs, caramelized onions, olives, aged pecorino, oregano

If you could catch a hot slice, this was probably the best pizza at the event.  If I have one thing in common with my parent’s dog, it’s the fact that we cannot get enough of veal meatballs.  Calamata olives are another favorite of mine and their severity of flavor either jive or drive a dish off a cliff.  They were a good fit here, though I could have done without the caramelized onions.  Pairing the Meatball with the Anniversary was very pleasant but also felt entirely excessive.  Lesson: enjoy responsibly.

Rating: A-

*     *     *

Some weeks ago I came up with the idea for a quarterly segment (if I can handle it) entitled “Hipster vs. Food.”  This event would have been an ideal warm-up.  I wasn’t a machine at the beer and pizza pairing, but I was also riding my breaks.  After all, I embarrass my girlfriend with some frequency as it is and so I wasn’t anxious to go over the top at an event that she had gifted me an invitation to.

I sampled every beer three times except for the Mad Scientists #8 and then drank the Righteous Ale from 2pm until our departure.  When the crowd started to thin out around 1, the pizzas were coming out faster and those folks that had been there since the beginning were showing signs of the drunchies.  Around 3:30, I joked with one of the servers:

Me:  “I’ll take another Righteous and a Brownstone [for the lady].”  I grab half of a Ham & Cheese pizza for myself and check for a stray Meatball slice, but it looks cold.

Server (as he pours):  “You guys are still here, huh?”

Me:  “Yeah, we can really put it away I guess.”

Server:  “I think you put away the most here.  Either you or that guy back there in the corner.”

Me:  “Ha, a challenger?  I don’t think I’m going to make it until 5, though.”

Server:  “Well, this only goes ’til 4, pal.”

My girlfriend and I finished those beers, had another round with a slice and then I suggested we leave.

Interestingly enough, half of the proceeds from the event went to benefit Edible Schoolyard NYC.  At first, I thought this might be a not-for-profit that builds edible jungle jims for hungry recessers, but it turns out that they encourage young students to learn about making healthier choices by building gardens with them.  The event may have been a slightly ironic venue (at least from my own consumptive standpoint) but I’m glad that the proceeds went to a good place.

Happy 7th Anniversary, Sixpoint!

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One Response to “Third Annual Pizza & Beer Pairing at Chelsea’s Co. With Sixpoint Brewery”

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  1. Chelsea pizza | Attackonhold - March 3, 2012

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