Although DCBeer tries to bring you news and events from as many venues as we have time to get to, I don't think we've ever mentioned Bertucci's, the sit-down brick oven pizza restaurant with two locations in Washington, DC. There just isn't usually a compelling reason to cover venues like Bertucci's, because they're not craft beer focused as a general rule. Despite this, Bertucci's head chef, Jeffrey Tenner, is a craft beer fan. Apparently, many outlets of the restaurant have a mandate from on high to bring in local craft beers to fill out the menu of otherwise macro beers. (A recent stop at the Dupont location showed offerings from Dominion and Dogfish Head, among others, for example).
Bertucci's has an ability to reach an audience that may not normally be reached by craft beer, so there's an opportunity to introduce people to both better beer and the idea that food and beer pair quite well. Bertucci's and Sam Adams are teaming up to produce a seasonal beer and pizza menu to try to spread the message of craft beer and food pairing.
Because Bertucci's has so many locations, they'll rely primarily on the menu to convey the tasting notes and pairings to their guests. Service staff will be a secondary source of information, but the impression I received in a phone call with folks from Bertucci's was that standardizing staff education on something like this would be difficult.
The four combinations that are being offered now and will be offered through the fall are:
Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Pizza – Sam Adams Irish Red
Potato and Bacon Pizza – Sam Adams Boston Ale
Roasted Mushroom and Asiago Pizza – Sam Adams Cream Stout
Spicy Salami Pizza – Sam Adams Latitude 48
These pizzas can be ordered with a multi-grain crust that incorporates barley and other grains in the malt bills of some of Sam Adams' beers.
Bertucci's will offer these pizzas at a price of 2 for $15 for individual sizes and 2 for $30 for large pizzas.
Kudos to Bertucci's and Sam Adams for this partnership. This isn't the venue most craft fans would think of for beer pairing, but spreading the word about craft beer is important and this will likely help.
Bertucci's in DC are located at 1218 Connecticut Avenue NW in Dupont Circle and 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Foggy Bottom.