A new authentic Neapolitan pizzeria recently opened in Vancouver. Located in Gastown, this new eatery is home to a traditional wood-fired pizza oven capable of producing the coveted 90 second pie. It takes a hot oven to bake a pizza in 90 seconds; 900F is the magic number, and Nicli Antica Pizzaria’s oven is more than capable of this temperature. The modern pizza originates from Napoli and the Specialità Tradizionale Garantita stipulates that authentic Neoplitan pizza must be formed by hand and baked in a hot oven at 900F for approximately 90 seconds.
Gastown is home to some of Vancouver’s best foodie destinations and many of these establishments offer a great selection of craft beer. I am completely obsessed with good pizza, and nothing pairs better with good pizza than good beer. I was over the top excited to a see a new pizzeria open in Gastown knowing that good beer should be available.
We visited Nicli Antica Pizzeria that past weekend and I can say this is the best pizza in Vancouver, bar none. The pizza arrives at your table, in a perfectly imperfect circular shape, with a lightly charred and blistered crust. The pie has a crispy exterior while remaining chewy and tender on the inside. The chef follows the less is more approach and tops his pizza with the perfect amount of flavourful, cheeses, tomatoes, Italian cured meats and other traditional Italian pizza toppings. Delicious.
The drink list boasts a small but good selection of craft beer. Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, which compliments a thin crust pizza excellently, and R&B Bohemian Lager are both available on draught. A number of other beers are also available in bottle form.
Nicli Antica Pizzeria makes the best pizza in Vancouver. With craft beer on the drink menu this new Pizzeria is hard to beat. I would encourage anyone who appreciates good food to make their way to Nicli Antica Pizzeria as soon as possible.
In case you’ve forgotten, it’s Father’s Day this Sunday! To celebrate the occasion a few BC breweries have got themselves involved in some Father’s Day beer dinners. If your Dad likes eating good food and drinking good beer, then I can’t thing of a better Fathery’s Day gift than a trip to one of these dinners:
- Central City in Surrey will be offering a three course meal, each course made with beer as an ingredient and paired with beer, for $35 anytime between 4PM and 8PM on Sunday, June 20th. I haven’t been to one of the Father’s Day dinners at Central City before, but I’ve seen pictures and heard Erik’s account of last year’s dinner. Without yet seeing the menu I can say, and trust me here, it’s worth the money.
- R&B Brewing is doing a Father’s Day dinner with DIVA at the Met in Vancouver. This dinner is a five course affair with each course paired with an R&B beer. On Saturday, June 19th from 7PM to 9:30PM this dinner can be yours for a mere $49. Again, I wasn’t there last year, but I heard the reviews and saw the pictures. It looked amazing, as does this year’s menu below.
Some beer notes from this week, each not enough for a post, but worth posting about:
- Beer Wars On Demand – I missed the Vancouver screening of Beer Wars last weekend, which I’d heard was a really good time (could have been the ten or so kinds of beer available). At the screening, it was announced that Beer Wars would be available on demand from your cable provider. I watched it last night at my convenience and it only cost me $5.99 from Shaw. I really enjoyed the explanations of the three tier distribution system, the beer lobbyists in Washington DC, and the plight of craft brewers like Dogfish Head‘s Sam Caglione, which made the movie worth watching. I also found the documentarian Anat Baron insufferable. She eventually gets into the movie after enlightening us as to how great she is for ten minutes or so. She also describes her experience in the beer industry with Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Wait, what?
- Stone! – At the same Beer Wars Screening, Stone Brewing‘s Greg Koch did announce that Stone would be making a one time shipment to BC. I was mostly right in my prediction, but I’m pretty choked at the one time part. Brewery Creek got their shipment in on Thursday, what followed was my single most expensive beer purchase of all time. I got one of everything, those being their Imperial Stout, Old Guardian Barley Wine, Smoked Porter, Vertical Epic Ale, Ruination IPA (six pack), Pale Ale (six pack), Levitation Ale (six pack), and Oaked Arrogant Bastard. If you want to buy any of these, it would be best to get to your local independent purveyor of fine beer as soon as possible.
R&B Iceholes Celebration Lager is now available! Colbert can suck one.
- Syrup Sucking Iceholes – I was the first person on the entire internets to write about R&B’s Iceholes Celebration lager, but now the bigger sites have gone and stolen my SEO. Oh well, who wants to be the first search result on Google anyway? R&B launched the beer last night at Capones in Vancouver and the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond. I managed to get a bottle last week. I haven’t had it yet, but I’ve heard it’s a good pilsner. Apparently Iceholes will be available at Capones and independent beer stores this February only. And it has reportedly been arranged for Colbert to suck as many Iceholes as he pleases.
- Olympic Beer Selection Fail - Since Molson is the official sponsor of the Olympics, the only beers available at anywhere affiliated with the Olympics will be Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Molson Ex, and maybe Rickards (sometimes, if you’re lucky). And get this, venues that used to server other, better beers can no longer do so. Lame.
Stephen Colbert hates Canada, sucks Icehole
You may recall the controversy created by Canada’s decision to restrict access to Olympic venues for foreign athletes. You may also recall Stephen Colbert’s reaction to the decision. If you don’t, read up on how he called us a bunch of “Canadian Iceholes” here. What does this have to do with anything? Well, I have it on good authority that Vancouver’s own R&B brewing, in direct response to Colbert’s comments, has brewed a new beer called Icehole Lager. I’ve also heard that R&B are sending Colbert a few cases and that he’s been invited to suck on an Icehole. I suspect that Colbert may even mention the beer on his show. In my opinion, this is brilliant non-Olympic Olympic marketing by R&B. Well played sirs.
I think we all know that Colbert was mostly kidding and I’m sure he’ll be able to appropriate the humor in and enjoy Icehole Lager. Colbert, best of luck to your speedskating team (he sponsors them). Just kidding, I hope they all lose to Canadians.
My obsessive drive to find the perfect pizza and beer led me to two Kitsilano pizzerias – Incendio West & The Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Both of these restaurants are situated within a stones throw of each other and have both received positive reviews, they also happen to offer a selection of craft beer in both bottles and on draft. If I was making the effort to visit one pizzeria , I figured I should make the most of the evening and visit both. If I really want to find the best pizza and beer in the Vancouver area I will have to make sacrifices. This particular sacrifice comes in the form of eating multiple dinners in one night – a sacrifice I am more than willing to make.
We started the evening at Incendio West. Incendio West belongs to the Incendio Group which operates two Italian pizza & pasta eateries and Stellas Tap and Tapas Bar. Currently one of Incendio’s pizza joints is undergoing extensive renovations after a fire caused damage to the kitchen and dinning room - after learning about the fire I was not all that surprised to discover that the word incendio means fire. Chris recommended Incendio’s Gastown location to me months ago stating that they offered great pizza and a good selection of craft beer. I was saddened when he told me the restaurant had caught fire and would be closed for quite some time, but was equally happy to find that Incendio West was in full operation.
The beer menu at Incendio West is made up of bottled domestic and international beer – mostly light lager. Their draft selection includes R&B wheat ale and pale ale, Shaftebury Cream Ale , Okanagan Spring 1516 and Pale Ale and Stella Artois. Having never tasted R&B Sun God Wheat I decided to give it a try – it turned out to be a mild wheat ale and was not impressive. R&B Red Devil Pale Ale proved to have a much greater depth in flavour, which paired nicely with a Incendio’s pizza.
I originally thought that Incendio West baked their pizza in a wood fired oven – I was wrong, they use gas. I have no evidence to support that a wood fired oven creates a better pizza than gas, but my preference leans towards the wood fired option. Gas may be capable of creating enough heat to properly bake a pizza, but gas will never have the same authentic charm that a wood burning oven does. The pizza at Incendio’s was good – well topped with an appropriate amount of sauce and cheese. My only complaint was the soggy crust, a sign of an undercooked pizza. Looking around at other tables I found that almost all of the pizza lacked a slightly charred crust, which is a sign of a well cooked pizza. Proper pizza cookery requires enough bravery to leave a pizza in a hot oven long enough to fully cook the crust, even if the pizza is starting to char around the edges.
After feasting at Incendio West and a taking quick walk through the neighborhood and along Kits beach we arrived at The Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. After spending an hour walking with hopes of burning off at least one slice of pizza, still none of us were hungry enough to sit down for a second meal, so we opted for takeout instead. Takeout would give me a chance to enjoy a fresh slice of their pizza while saving the remainder for the next day. Waiting for the pizza gave me enough time to poke around the restaurant to see if they used a wood fired oven and to also take a look at their beer selection. I am happy to confirm that Rocky Mountain bakes their pizza in a wood fired oven. Their beer selection is quite impressive as well, offering beer from Howe Sound Brewing in both 1 liter bottles and on draft – R&B Beer was also offered on draft. Seeing a table with a 1 liter bottle of Howe Sound made me wonder why more restaurants don’t offer 650 ml bomber bottles. A bomber is the prefect size for sharing and does not require the restaurant owner to commit to a full keg. The pizza at Rocky Mountain was good, but although the crust was fully cooked, it was noticeably inferior to Incendio’s Crust.
I have many places still to visit in my pursuit of finding the greatest pizza and beer in Vancouver. By the end of this summer I hope to conclude my search – I gladly welcome any recommendations for places to visit.