Believe it or not, International Beer and Pizza Day is an official food holiday.
And while both beer and pizza have been enjoyed for centuries, this celebration was just created in 2016.
Occurring on October 9th, it is a day to applaud one of the most famous food and drink combinations on the planet.
Pizza and beer have been part of our history for a long time, and their appeal has never faded; they enjoy a special place in our hearts and at our tables.
Perhaps the reason is not just because they both taste good but because they also represent the warmth and fun inherent in spending time with friends and family.
Let’s peek behind the curtain and discover a little bit more about this famous culinary couple.
The History of Beer
Beer is one of mankind’s oldest beverages and possibly dates back to 9500 BC when cereal grains were farmed.
The drink appears in the written histories of both ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, including the Hymn to Ninkasi, which is a prayer to the Mesopotamian goddess of beer.
Beer has played a prominent role in many ancient civilizations. You just have to look at the example of the Great Pyramids, where workers were given a daily portion of 4-5 liters of beer, so they had enough nutrients and refreshment to successfully complete their hard manual work.
Beer came to Europe as far back as 3000 BC. It was brewed domestically and bore little resemblance to the beer we drink today; it was prepared using a variety of fruits, honey, plants, and spices and did not contain hops.
Before the Industrial Revolution, beer continued to be made on a small-scale basis and was even manufactured by many European monasteries. Once the Industrial Revolution arrived, beer became mass produced.
Today, brewing is a major global business with billions in revenue.
The History of Pizza
In comparison to beer, pizza is just a ‘youngster.’ It was first documented in 997 AD in Gaeta, Italy where a tenant of a big property was told to deliver the bishop of Gaeta 12 pizzas every Christmas and 12 more each Easter Sunday.
However, foods similar to pizza have been prepared since ancient times, with the most notable being the ancient Greeks who placed various toppings (veggies, potatoes, spices and olive oil) on top of flat, round baked bread.
The precursor to modern-day pizza was probably the focaccia, a Roman flatbread to which toppings were added. The residents of Naples included tomato on the focaccia in the late 18th century—the first rendition of pizza as we know it today.
Until about 1830, pizza was sold from open-air stands and pizza bakeries—a tradition which has been kept alive by the modern day pizzeria.
One legend which persists has to do with the invention of the Pizza Margherita in 1889.
According to the story, the Neapolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito was commissioned to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen preferred the one that used the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil) and white (mozzarella).
Pizza crossed the Atlantic with the 4 million Italians who came to America in 1920. Logically, pizza was seen in the cities where the Italian immigrant concentration was highest.
Lombardi’s, the nation’s first licensed pizzeria, opened its doors in New York City in 1905.
It took time for pizza to catch on in the US, but its popularity definitely got a boost from the World War II servicemen who returned from Italy and raved about the dish.
Soon pizza was no longer something just for first or second-generation Italians; it became a national favorite.
Some Fun Facts About Pizza and Beer
Here are some little-known facts about pizza and beer:
- Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world and the 3rd most popular drink overall (trailing behind water and tea).
- Making beer requires the use of four basic ingredients: water, a starch source, yeast, and flavoring (such as hops).
- The two main beer types are ales, e.g. pale ale, porters and stouts, and lagers, e.g. Pilsners.
- In the US, pizza is a $44 billion industry and includes 76,000 pizzerias.
- Pizzas may be thin and hand-tossed (Neapolitan) or thick and deep-dish (Chicago-Style).
- The world’s largest pizza was made in Rome in 2012. It was 13,570 square feet and prepared with a gluten-free base!
How to Celebrate Beer and Pizza Day
This year, how about celebrating Beer and Pizza Day in a unique way?
We have decided to put a healthful spin on this combination with our recipe for Best Beer Pizza Crust.
The best part? One of the ingredients for the pizza crust is beer itself!
Gather your friends and family, and enjoy Beer and Pizza Day!