When I first saw this beer, I was amazed—I may have even pinched myself to see if I was dreaming. Then, after I picked it up and checked it carefully, I was struck by how perfect it was. The label might as well have said, “Fodder for Paul Stansfield’s blog about weird and/or gross consumables.” Plus, it was a single, reasonably priced (about $2) bottle, meaning I wouldn’t have to choke down a six pack if it was terrible (or an entire case in most of
it was an ideal sample size. So all in
all, there was no way I was going to leave the store without buying this.
According to the label, and website, Chef Tom Seefurth of
invented Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer in 2005.
However, evidently the demand has been such that the bottle I bought was
made for the Pizza Beer Company by Sprecher Brewing, out of Wisconsin.
And it’s an ale brewed with, literally, oregano, basil, tomato, and
garlic. The Seefurth family isn’t
lacking in confidence either, as the beer’s slogan is “Beer so good it deserves…a
wine glass!” (To make an obscure, Dennis
Miller-esque type reference to a “Seinfeld” episode, Elaine’s ex-boyfriend Jake
Jarmel would be seething at this bottle’s label punctuation.)
I was nervous giving this one a try. And this is coming from a guy who willingly drank both the Rogue Voodoo Doughnut beers, both the Maple Bacon and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana (see Sept. 10, 2012 post and Sept. 8, 2013 post, respectively, for more information). Somehow, combining pizza flavors with beer seemed riskier. Sure, eating pizza with beer to wash it down is common, but together, in the same glass?!
Well, to end the “drama,” it was actually pretty good. And unlike some strangely flavored beers, there wasn’t just a hint of the odd taste—it was very discernable. It had a tomato-y and basil-y odor, and the beer itself definitely tasted pizza-y. Surprisingly, this worked out okay. It’s a very bizarre taste, but it’s a good kind of bizarre. I finished it happily. It’s not the best beer I’ve ever had, by a long shot, but it’s even further from the hideous abomination I was afraid it would be. One of my beer clichés, said about various fruit flavored beers, and pumpkin beers, smoke beers, etc., is that I wouldn’t want to drink it all night, but one or two every once in a while is a nice change of pace. So it is for Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer. I plan to occasionally grab the odd single bottle of it whenever it catches my eye. To be fair, “your mileage may vary,” as the saying goes—I looked it up on Beer Advocate, and its average rating was “poor,” so many drinkers will surely disagree with me.
Next time I may even try it in a wine glass, as its slogan suggests. I underestimated it before, after all—maybe this will improve the experience.