Flashback to August 2000. I was in the third year of my first brewing job, at Egan Brewing in De Pere, Wisconsin. Trying to come up with something new and interesting, I brewed a Saison, spiced it with thyme, and gave it the extraordinarily clever name Thyme of the Saison, after the song by The Zombies. As my notes will attest, Thyme of the Saison was a remarkably nasty beer, and it pretty much cured me of any desire to ever brew with spices again. But there were some who really liked it, and they referred to it as my "pizza beer".
Now, in 2007, enter homebrewer Tom Seefurth of St. Charles, Illinois. Tom's Mamma Mia's Pizza Beer won a recent homebrew competition at Walter Payton's Roundhouse, and that brewpub scaled the recipe up and brewed a twelve-barrel batch. There's more to Tom's pizza beer than thyme:
...a barley-based beer that’s flavored with tomato, basil, oregano and garlic.
Walter Payton’s agreed to make up 24 kegs of the pizza beer, using about 30 gallons of canned tomatoes, tons of spices and many pounds of red beets for color in the 930-gallon vat.
The article also says that "Seefurth says he might be the first person to have added garlic to beer". I've got him beat by about 16 years, with a homebrew batch that took a prize at a competition in California. I thought that one was pretty nasty too, but there you go.
All in all, it sounds like Tom's beer is quite a bit better than my attempts at spiced beer. I'm probably not going to make it to Illinois to give his a try, but I'd enjoy hearing from anybody who does.
Read the whole story at beep.