Pi at the MX’s The Delmar, $17/$22 small/large
Special Note: Pi Pizzeria has multiple locations, with different menu items at each. The dish and drink pairings featured in this column are from Pi at The MX.
As mentioned in this month’s Feast 50, one of the strongest characteristics of the St. Louis culinary and beverage scene is the supportive relationships between industry businesses. A restaurant group fully embracing this teamwork attitude is the collection of Pi locations. Not only do they create specific pies for the neighborhoods of St. Louis, but they consistently work hand in hand with others to create new products and experiences.
The local partnerships do not end there; the pizzeria offers a number of beers and wines that reflect the restaurant's connection to the area and support of fellow businesses.
THE DRINK PAIRINGS
4 Hands Brewing Co., Collaboration pi-PA, St. Louis
What goes more hand in hand that barbecue and beer? Tradition speaks for itself, so we will start with the craft beer selections at Pi. A celebratory brew crafted by 4 Hands Brewery for the opening of Pi at the MX, this American Pale Ale is clean and refreshing with just enough hoppiness to balance the combination of flavors of the pizza. The slight spicy notes and expected bitterness in the beer highlight the Memphis-style barbecue sauce. The frothy carbonation revitalizes your palate between each mouthful of intricate tastes.
Special Note: The robust and hoppy Pi Common by Schlafly (exclusive to Pi) was a very close second in this pairing.
2008 Mary Michelle Norton, Ill., $7 by the glass
Although I try to scope out local wines as often as possible, we are more likely to see Missouri-grown grapes. Pi at the MX has honored its proximity to the other side of the Mississippi River with this Illinois Norton. This red bursts with jammy blackberry, red currant and juicy plum fruits, but the nuances of rosemary and pepper add to the complexity, and the wine becomes reminiscent of a Zinfandel, one of my favorite go-to reds for barbecue.
Charleville Oatmeal Stout, Ste Genevieve, Mo. $5 by the pint
For my final match-up, I wanted to go with something off the beaten path for both barbecue and pizza. In my search for a unique pairing, I actually found two. First was the Original Sin hard apple cider ($5 by the bottle) that brought an interesting fruitiness yet familiar melody of flavors. (I suggest ordering it while enjoying this pizza on the Pi patio.) However, the restaurant-exclusive Oatmeal Stout from Missouri's own Charleville Brewing really enticed me. Stouts are interesting brews; often drinkers love or hate the style. I think most of this comes from misconception that all are thick and heavy beers. Not so with this soft and silky oatmeal stout - dark, roasted malts accentuate the deeper tastes of the pie while equalizing a slight sweetness.
Pi at The MX, 610 Washington Ave., Downtown, 314.588.7600, www.restaurantpi.com
Every Wednesday, STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann helps you navigate wine and beer lists at restaurants around town and suggests the best by-the-glass pairings with certain dishes. Through her event and consultation business, she is dedicated to enhancing your food and wine experience. Missed one of her columns? Check them out here!