|Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
2733 Papermill Road | Wyomissing, PA 19610
On Tuesday, July 29th, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Wyomissing, PA held their first Craft Beer Tasting Dinner, pairing brews from Susquehanna Brewing Company with signature Anthony’s dishes. The event was quite a bargain at $30 a person, which included four (or, really, eight) courses paired with samples of four beers as well as a Susquehanna Brewing pint glass to take home.
For those attending the dinner two large tables were set up, allowing patrons to meet and mingle with one another as the courses were brought out in family-style, help-yourself servings. Susquehanna Brewing Regional Sales Manager Trevor Fitzgerald introduced each beer before every course, explaining the brewing process behind them, the flavor profiles and how they would compliment each course. As the food was served, equally in-depth introductions were given for each dish, detailing the ingredients, the preparation and inspirations behind them.
The dinner was divided into four courses, though each actually contained two dishes, making for quite the mouth-watering feast. Shady Spot Lemon Shandy was served alongside Anthony’s Classic Italian Salad and Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato Salad to kick things off. I’m not usually a big fan of Shandies, but this one was quite refreshing. The natural, fresh lemon flavor, not overly sweet, complimented the light but flavorful salads. As delicious as the salads were (and the beer paired with them) the diners seemed eager to move onto more hardy fare.
Round two was Coal Oven Roasted Chicken Wings with a heaping of savory caramelized onions and Eggplant Marino paired with HopFive IPA. A solid IPA, HopFive was not overly bitter, allowing it to play nicely with the two dishes. It is bottle conditioned and brewed with Bravo, Willamette, Mount Hood, English Progress and whole-cone Liberty hops.
The wings were roasted to a satisfying crispness, slow marinaded with just a hint of peppery spice. What ended up being my favorite dish of the evening, the thin-sliced eggplant was layered with fresh tomato sauce and topped with grated romano cheese and basil.
Next up was the truly stand-out beer for me, Pils-Noir, paired with Pork Ribs with Vinegar Peppers and Rosemary and pure beef Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese. First, the beer. This unique “black Pilsner” is made with Pearl barley, CaraMalt and Crystal malts, prepared using a husk-free milling process. The brew is naturally darkened through decoction mashing. A nice, smooth maltiness comes as expected given the color, yet it retains the crisp, clean character of a Pilsner.
The pork ribs were excellently seasoned and packed a creeping spiciness, a product of both the seasoning and the vinegar peppers though they did not overwhelm the flavor. Massive were the meatballs. Giant spheres of fine beefy goodness, a simple, solid take on this Italian classic. You can taste the reverence Anthony’s has for the mighty tomato in their sauce (more on that in a bit.)
Finally, pizza. Given that it’s in their name, it’s no surprise that Anthony’s makes one hell of a pie. The final course was a sample of three pizzas: Traditional Cheese, Caulifllower and Broccoli Rabe and Sausage, paired with Goldencold Lager. A straightforward, no-nonsense, Helles-style lager, the Goldencold fits with pizza like…well, lager and pizza.
All of the pizzas were excellent. The melty earthiness of the Broccoli Rabe, the savory butteriness of the Cauliflower and the roasted, sublime cheesiness of the straight up Cheese pie were all delightful. And, that sauce. Every year, namesake Anthony Bruno samples tomatoes from vineyards throughout Italy, choosing one variety to use in the restaurants for the year. As I said above, this care in selecting what for many is an afterthought ingredient shines through in every dish it touches. Check out this video of the process on their website.
Though Steph has attended several events at Anthony’s this was the first time I had been there. I will definitely be back. The food is outstanding and they’ve made an effort to make great craft beer a huge part of what they do. I hope this is the first of many successful beer dinners hosted at this awesome spot.
This was also the first time I’ve tried these Susquehanna Brewing beers. I will definitely return to them as well. The beers showcased at this event represented a deftness in a variety of styles. I’ll be seeking out more from them and I will certainly be adding that Pils-Noir to my list of favorites.