Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer

Novelty beers tend to be hit or miss with a lot of beer drinkers - people either love them or hate them. But sometimes there’s something that lands in the middle that’s just plain okay or good, Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer being a perfect example. It’s a beer that’s intended to be essentially pizza in beer form, and in that aspect I think it succeeds. However, the novelty wears off rather quickly making it enjoyable once, but I don’t think I could drink this in large quantities or very often.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (813) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 13, 2013
I received four 16oz bottles from a fan out of state (thanks, Lauren!). I shared them with four friends and we each poured into stemmed tulip glasses and goblets.

Appearance: Bright orange hue but with a cloudy body. Initially forms a one to two-finger, white, foamy head which mostly dissipates and doesn’t retain or lace the glass that much.

Smell: It definitely lives up the name as it has the exact same aroma as a lot of pizza-flavored products or what it might smell like standing outside a pizzeria. Plenty of oregano and basil with a hint of garlic and some tomato puree sauce.

Taste: I was rather anxious going into this beer, as I’ve had other spice/herb/vegetable brews that just overwhelmed me with their additives and didn’t have much true beer quality to it. In the case of Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer it’s not quite that intense. It drinks like an amber or pale ale with a strong pizza taste in the second half. The leafy green flavors of oregano and basil are noticeable, but contained up front, with a light malt flavor throughout the first half. As it transitions to the second half there’s even a subtle hop character with a bit of citrus or earthy/spicy flavor which is then followed by the garlic taste. If these flavor descriptions sound odd or unappealing (or worse) to you, I’d say words can’t really do it justice. If ever there was a beer with a "je ne sais pas ce que" factor, this is it.

We paired the beer with cheese pizza from a local pizzeria and we were all pleasantly surprised at how well the food and beer complemented each other. I noticed the spice and herbal qualities in the beer seemed to fade away and the beer began to taste like a mild amber or pale ale. As the beer warmed the garlic character seemed to become more prominent, imparting a rustic, slightly dirty or earthy taste with some onion flavor on the finish. So while I enjoyed the beer right away, I think it’d be difficult to drink an entire bottle as a stand-alone beverage and it’s definitely not something meant to session.

Drinkability: The taste of the beer is obviously going to determine the real drinkability factor for the individual drinker rather than the body. Though I found it to be quite drinkable as the spices were not overbearing and the core beer character was prominent. The mouthfeel is a little thin, on the flatter side, and finishes clean while cold. The 4.7% ABV is a rather irrelevant factor, but a beer like this you’d want a lighter weight out of anyway.
 Grade: 6/10

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