How to Pair Pizza and Beer at Downtown Brooklyn’s New Circa Brewing Co.

The pizzas were designed to pair perfectly with Circa’s brews.

To borrow one of DJ Khaled’s many positive catchphrases and use it in a different context, “another one.” Here, the hip-hop producer, record-label executive and Snapchat star’s motivational mantra marks the second brewery to open in Brooklyn in recent weeks, joining Five Boroughs Brewing Company in Sunset Park. But this newcomer more closely resembles a producer set to arrive soon in DUMBO, the third Randolph Beer outpost and its first brewpub.

Like the latter operation, Circa Brewing Co., in Downtown Brooklyn, combines a brewery and restaurant, and it comes from Gerry Rooney, who also owns Putnam’s Pub & Cooker in Clinton Hill. Rooney has recruited Danny Bruckert, formerly at Sixpoint, to handle the brewing on the premises and the onetime Mad Scientist is covering a range of styles, from pilsner to gose and New England–style IPA, available to drink by the glass or flight, or take to go via growler. Some of Bruckert’s works also appear in the lineup of cocktails composed by Damon Boelte, the bar director at Grand Army in Boerum Hill. (The Americano Perfecto, for example, spins the classic Italian aperitif by substituting seltzer for pilsner.)

The beer selection is wide-ranging.

With both a brewery and restaurant occupying the 6,000-square-foot space, whose setting is industrial with rustic touches, one could say that Circa feels like a full house. But instead of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, joining Bruckert to run its food component alongside Bruce Dillon, the executive chef (also of Putnam’s), is his twin brother, Luke, who is making Neapolitan-style pizzas—including three exclusive to brunch—from a wood-burning oven.

Unlike one of New York City’s most memorable couples, Ross Cellino and Stephen Barnes, who are in the midst of an increasingly nasty legal battle to dissolve their eponymous firm (may its infectious jingle live on!), pizza and beer is a beloved pairing that is perpetually immune to disunion. As such, below are five recommended pairings of Circa’s pies and brews courtesy of the Bruckert brothers. After trying one of the suggested matchings, they hope you go for “another one.”

Clam Down + Gose
Luke: “We top our clam pizza with littlenecks. Not only do they mingle nicely with the pickled garlic, Calabrian chile oil and pecorino also found on the pie, but they pair really well with the oceanic salinity of a gose, a tart German beer made with sea salt and coriander. When we decided to offer a clam pizza, Danny immediately thought to have a gose in the rotation. It’s lively, refreshing, citrusy, spicy and lightly briny with a savory edge that cuts into the pizza’s creaminess perfectly. We even top the pie with a grilled lemon, which plays off the beer’s sour dimension, from the lactic acid used in brewing it.”

62’ Hawaii + New England IPA
Danny: “This pizza makes me, and hopefully you, think of surfboards and grass skirts. There’s a ton of bright, juicy, sweet flavors from the grilled pineapple, sweet onion and bourbon maple ham, and I think it screams to be scarfed down with our New England IPA, a cloudy, soft, creamy, barely bitter IPA bursting with citrus and tropical-fruit flavors and aromas largely derived from huge hop additions late in the brewing process. This style of IPA has captivated brewers and fans alike in recent years, and you can absolutely count me in on that. With the kind of pizza and the New England–style IPA’s general likeness to orange juice, I like to call this pairing our Hawaiian Punch.”

Big Dipper + Nitro Stout
Luke: “The Big Dipper is one of the heartbeat stories to Circa. The first night Gerry, Bruce and myself ate pizza and drank beer together, the idea for this pie was born. As the drunken night deepened and the slices disappeared, we found ourselves dipping the last of our pizza into the jus that accompanied a pork shank dish we had ordered on the side. This pizza features rustic forest-floor flavors from wild mushrooms, truffle béchamel and melted leeks, and embraces slow cooking with beer-braised pork shanks. It’s the perfect match for a roasty, chocolatey, nutty, coffee-y and creamy stout, one of two of Danny’s beers poured on nitrogen. And for those wondering: Yes, we serve a side of pork jus with this pie.”

Salumi + Double IPA
Danny: “The Salumi might be the boldest of Luke’s pies, and so it would need a beer assertive and badass enough to stand tall with. And that’s where the big, dank, juicy Double IPA comes in. Its piney, resiny bitterness feels so right alongside the spicy, savory heat of the Brooklyn Cured soppressata and Calabrian chile oil. Also the beer’s bold citrusy notes play well with the sweetness from a drizzle of Mohawk Valley honey that we finish the pie with. A big IPA gives the perfect amount of carbonation to scrub your palate for the next bite.”

2 Cows, A Sheep, and A Goat + Nitro Pale Ale
Luke: “This is our over-the-top quattro formaggi. It’s all about the depth of creamy, cheesy goodness courtesy of mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino and robiola, layered with a spicy coppa that crisps up like bacon in the 900-degree oven. We finish it with a mound of fresh greens and envelop that with finely shaved parm. For pairing, I’d go with our pale ale, Danny’s other beer we serve on nitro, giving a creamy complement and just enough mild hoppiness to take you somewhere fun. Speaking to the variety of beers he’s making and how that inspires what I’m doing, it’s awesome to have a hoppy pale more subtle and nuanced in flavor than say his Double or New England IPA to pair a pie with.”

Katherine Hernandez

Katherine Hernandez is an Afro-Latina chef and multimedia journalist. Her work has been published on NPR Food, PRI's The World, Edible Manhattan, Feet in 2 Worlds, Gothamist and more.