That's columnist Chris Foste is a bearded beer fanatic whose frothy pint glass of knowledge flows over with wisdom on the wetting of one's whistle.
Brushing your teeth before drinking orange juice. Grinding nails on a chalkboard. Putting pineapple on pizza. There are a few things in life that are universally hated in this world, but are they really?
Love it or hate it, there is absolutely no middle ground in the pineapple on pizza debate. Staunch supporters or disgusted traditionalists, the topic rages on about whether or not pineapple has a home on the pizza slice. The origins of pineapple on pizza are shrouded in mozzarella mist, but the ancient texts of Wikipedia mention the pineapple pizza actually originated from the land of ice, maple syrup and hockey fights.
There is a long-running joke about Canada, the country has 20 minutes of summer followed by 364 days, 23 hours and 40 minutes of winter, which is just enough time to soak the toes in the lake before the frostbite strikes. Naturally, businesses would want to market a warmer mentality to fend off the frigid feelings. In the mid-1960s, Sam Panopoulos of the Satellite Restaurant decided to mix things up with the regular pizza toppings. A victim of a conservative pizza crowd, Panopoulos decided to spice, or you could say sweeten, things up by adding pineapple to pizza. Pineapple and mushroom, pineapple and ham, pineapple and pepperoni, regardless of the toppings, the pizza boss was pushing his customers to widen their taste range and try something unique.
When style expanded to America, the original ham and pineapple became known as the Hawaiian. The pizza expansion has continued all over the world and the disagreement carries on internationally throughout all cultures, to pineapple or not to pineapple?
Joe's Pizza expanded their New York-based pizza operations to Shanghai in 2017, and their savory slices have since been a hit with the locals. With some inspiration from a local bearded beer drinker, they are rolling out a new pizza that will convert some pineapple deniers into pineapple disciples. The Maui Wowie – the newest pizza to Joe's flavor-forward menu – is a trifecta of flavors. Pineapple, jalapeño and bacon, a combination of sweet, spicy and savory, will surely convert any pineapple haters out there.
Sinking teeth into generous chunks of pineapple release sweet fruit juices into the mouth, filling the flavor cracks between the jalapeño heat and the fatty bacon bits. A simple spicy twist on a Canadian classic, the Maui Wowie is climbing the pizza charts and gaining popularity amongst the walkers of Wujiang Road in Shanghai. Move over, pepperoni, there is a new challenger for the popular Pizza Crown.
Now, this wouldn't be a proper Bearded Bear article without a bit about beer! Joe's Pizza also stocks an exclusively brewed beer for proper pizza pairing, the Greenwich IPA, a low ABV session IPA. Light floral aroma with biscuit notes twirling in the center. This beer is well balanced with a good amount of floral hops that add a light bitterness and a touch of citrus all countered with the biscuit and bready malts. Light and easy, this one is perfect for pizza, as its flavor doesn't bowl over the delicate flavors.
The bitterness adds an extra dimension of flavor to the spicy/sweet Maui Wowie slice. If the pineapple doesn't clear out enough of the heat for you, then the IPA tackles whatever is left. Strong bubbles and florally bitter hops clean out the taste buds leaving the eater with a cool and refreshing feeling singing around the lips and to the back of the jowls.
Never say never, and give this sweet and spicy slice a shot. When in Shanghai, go enjoy Joe's pizza on Wujiang walking road near Nanjing West Road Subway Station, exit 4, or their new location in the basement of SML Center, near Tianzifang. Eat pizza, drink beer and be merry!
[All image courtesy of Chris Foste]
Read more of Foste's columns and brew reviews