The menu board
The list of pies for the afternoon, hanging above Paulie's WFO.
Tomato, Burrata, and Roasted Pepper
The first slice (from an upside-down pie—think pizza Tarte Tatin!) was a study in contrasts, topped with tender red tomato slices, a creamy white hunk of burrata, and a slice of roasted red pepper.
Katie paired the first slice with Friska from Birrificio Barley, a microbrewery that opened in Southern Sardinia in 2006. "It’s a super light, citrus-driven beer," she said, which serves as "a good introduction to Italian craft beer, because you can pair it with food—and Italians always drink with food! It’s very versatile," explained Katie.
Pumpkin, Robiola, and Speck
Next was Robiola (a specialty of Piedmont, which also happens to be the focus of Italy’s craft beer renaissance), pumpkin slices, and juniper-cured speck from Brooklyn Larder.
The pumpkin slice (and the following market slice) were both matched up with Piccolo Birrificio's Seson. Piccolo was established in 2005, in the town of Apricale. Brewed with chinotto, coriander, and juniper, this beer "is also very citrusy, and a natural pairing thanks to the juniper in both it and the speck," said Katie.
Vegan Market Slice
Time for a seasonal vegan slice: sautéed swiss chard, mushrooms, roasted peppers, and more of that pumpkin were topped with what looked like purple streak mizuna.
Broccoli and Sausage
The fourth slice we were served was thickly topped with a kind of creamed mashup of broccoli and sausage.
Re Ale Extra
Re Ale Extra was paired with both the broccoli and mushroom slices. The IPA-style beer hails from Birra Del Borgo, a brewery founded in 2005 in Borgorose, a small village bordering the Lazio region of Italy (which also happens to be the region where Gabriele and Katie are from).
Mushroom, Taleggio, and Potato
My personal favorite, this was a mushroom, potato, Taleggio, and thyme slice. It was paired with the Re Ale Extra, which Katie described as "quite hoppy, nice and potent so it stands up to the more structured toppings."
Vegetables and Sausage
Our last slice was sort of a culmination of the rest—swiss chard, spinach, mushrooms, tomato, and sausage.
For the last two courses, Katie’s choice was Runa Bianca, a farmhouse ale from Birrificio Montegioco, another brewery that opened in 2005, this time near Tortona, on the border of Piedmont. Also made with citrus and spices, Katie called it "very drinkable, but with interesting nuances. Riccardo Franzosi, the brewer, is very talented," said Katie. "A simple person who makes stunningly complex and easy to drink beers."
Pork Neck with Pizza Crust
For 'dessert,' there was a slice of rich and meltingly tender pork neck, topped with vinegary sautéed vegetables (swiss chard and tomato, mostly), and wrapped in a thin layer of pizza crust. Katie said that she "wanted to take people on a tour of the Italian peninsula [with the beer]. I thought pairing Italian craft beers with this pizza, which has its roots in Roman pizza but is a little more elegant, a little evolved, would be fun."
And on the way out, I passed our host—Paulie himself, relaxing and chatting as the event drew to a close.