Last week, I discussed two Sober Carpenter non-alcoholic beers. To recap, the Irish Style Red was disappointing, but the Blonde was acceptable. If I were issuing letter grades, the former gets an F, but the latter a passing C-. At the end, I said I would be interested in trying their IPA.
Well, now I have.
It's still a bit on the watery side, and the carbonation a tad too much like seltzer water, but this was surprisingly good nonetheless. It's also disconcertingly the exact shade of dehydration urine.
Despite the mouthfeel failure and unfortunate aesthetics, it's not bad where it counts most. The pale and cara malts combined with citra, simcoe, and cascade hops produce a balanced and satisfying flavor. 42 IBU has some bite, but nothing is overly aggressive. There is some floral, pine, and citrus there.
I know this glass has a lot of foam. Two points: first, the foam in this beer is just not the same as most proper beers. I think this relates to the watery seltzer sensation. Second, the can was way over-pressure for no apparent reason, and the first can I had a few nights ago acted like the worst shaken can prank ever. This one has been sitting for a couple days, and I opened it carefully after tapping the sides, but it still attempted to imitate a small geyser. Weird.
Honestly, if you want to drink a hoppy IPA without an alcohol hit, try this one out. Just drink it straight from the can, assuming it doesn't try an impression of the Steamboat Geyser when you pop open the tab.
I suddenly realized a few days ago that I had gone a very long time without attending to my sourdough starter. Its jar had migrated to the purgatory zone known as the back corner of the bottom shelf in the refrigerator. There was a nasty liquid on top of the mother, but I poured that down the drain and used a rubber spatula to scrape off the discolored surface. Everything underneath looked and smelled OK, though, so I poured it into a bowl.
After thoroughly washing out the jar, I added fresh flour and water with some of the starter to get it growing again. The rest I set on the counter with its own flour and water feeding to start growing again at room temperature. After about 24 hours, I could see it puffing up and showing signs of life. Yay! I didn't kill it yet!
For sauce, I stole a pint jar of the Mother Thing's homemade tomato sauce from 2020. Then I added a small jar of minced hot green chilies, and unmeasured dashes of garlic powder and Italian seasoning. I let it simmer and thicken while I prepared the crusts.
I split the dough to make two pizzas, the less photogenic crust getting topped entirely with "Hawaiian-style" pineapple and Canadian bacon because I am a culinary sociopath. The other, shown here, got only half-coverage with what remained in the package, so I scrounged for some delicatessen-style sliced ham and turkey to cut up and scatter across the other half.
I also used Daiya non-dairy shredded cheese alternative. There was a sale, so I stocked up in preparation for this project.
The less-sexy pizza is in the freezer, and I am saving it for baking at a later date. I baked this pie at 420° Frankenstein (215° Science) for 10 minutes, checked it, and decided it needed more time. Then I forgot to set a timer again. Somewhere between 5-10 minutes later, I remembered to check it again, and it was ready.
Maybe flash wasn't such a great idea. I was too hungry to worry much about that, though, so this is the snapshot I have. Same for the single-slice shot to follow. A photography blog this ain't.
Anyway, I'm finally approaching the actual point connecting the pizza and beer: while I prefer the IPA on its own as a non-alcoholic beer, the blonde pairs better with flavorful food. My pizza packs a bit of a punch on its own, and I think the IPA would clash too much. If I want one of these near-beer to go with pizza or burgers, the blonde suddenly edges ahead.
I told you it was a bad shot. Good pizza, though, and still not a bad beer.
I quite like my improvised toppings, too. The thin-sliced deli meat was already somewhat rolled up in the packaging, so it was easy to slice into topping-sized chunks which toasted up nicely. Honestly, I'll try this with more pineapple some time later, because Canadian bacon prefers to slide off whole and slap me in the face with super-heated sauce. Even if you don't think pineapple goes on pizza, give this meat method a try!