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Study up on fermentation at DC pizza, beer event

Nothing goes better with a slice of pizza than a pint of beer. And it turns out, the two have a more in common than forming the perfect culinary pairing. (Steve Legato)

WASHINGTON — Nothing goes better with a slice of pizza than a pint of beer. And it turns out, the two have a more in common than forming the perfect culinary pairing.

Both rely on fermentation.

And on Tuesday, March 14, that metabolic process will be the focus of the “Crust and Craft Beer” event at Pizzeria Vetri. From 7 to 9 p.m., Flying Dog Brewery’s beer professor Justin Tarnow will team up with Pizzeria Vetri head chef Sean Galianese to discuss the parallels in pizza and beer and the impact of fermentation on overall flavor and texture.

“Beer is kind of like a liquid bread,” Tarnow said.

“We’re both using water, grains and yeast, so what we really want to do is just strip down our two worlds and show that at the root of them, they’re actually a lot more alike than they are different.”

Brewers use yeast to convert sugars in the brewing liquid to alcohol; but in some cases, the yeast adds flavor.

“When you’re making a Belgian beer or something like that, yeast can contribute some very complex flavors. Sometimes they show up as kind of like a spicy characteristic and sometimes they have suggestions of even fruit.”

Pizzeria Vetri’s Galianese, on the other hand, credits fermentation for achieving a soft crust and a sourdough-like flavor. During Vetri’s 72-hour cold fermentation process, bubbles are created in the dough, and the air trapped inside builds flavor as the dough rises.

Tickets to the event, priced at $25, include beer samples from Flying Dog (plus one 12-ounce beer of choice) and unlimited Irish-inspired fare, including a beef stew-inspired pizza.


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