Combine one part tomato basil pizza, one part Mediterranean pizza, and one part surprisingly delicious stout from Sri Lanka (yes, I said Sri Lanka), and what do you get? An absolutely fantastic and simple meal, my friends.

I love dishes that require extremely little prep, and come out tasting like you slaved over them for hours. These simple pizza recipes I went with Monday night for dinner fit that bill perfectly. Not that it was complicated to begin with, but I basically just made it up as I went along. OK, fine…if you want to quibble, it wasn’t exactly “homemade,” as I’d originally planned on making my own dough, but to save a bit of time I used the pre-formed pizza crusts from Boboli (thin). They work just fine in a pinch. For both pizzas, I brushed both sides of the crust with a mixture of olive oil and two cloves minced garlic before I added all the toppings, and cooked the pizzas at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes in the oven. Here’s the rest of the ingredients:

Tomato Basil Pizza (like I need to explain it)

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 7 oz. diced sun-dried tomato
  • 1 oz. shredded mozzarella
  • 4 tbsp chopped basil (you can add another ounce or two after the pizza is done for a more robust basil aroma)

Mediterranean Pizza

  • 1/3 cup pesto sauce (spread as the base…and don’t use  the crap in the big spaghetti sauce jar, look for the real deal)
  • 7 oz. diced sun-dried tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 cup kalamata pitted olives
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • 1 oz. shredded mozarella
  • 4 tbsp spinach leaves

Both pizzas came out crisp and delicious, and went very well with Lion Stout (the Mediterranean pizza in particular thanks to the contrast with the feta).

Now what about this Lion Stout? I had heard of this mysterious beer from Sri Lanka recently from a couple friends, and when I stopped in to The Four Firkins the other day to see what was new on the shelves, Alvey offered up a small sample. I was immediately floored. And shocked it came from a part of the world one doesn’t normally associate with beer, let alone a rich, coffee-like stout! Brewed by The Lion Brewery Ceylon, I was surprised to also learn, according to the company’s under construction website, that these guys apparently also brew Carlsberg (I thought Carlsberg brewed Carlsberg, so I’m assuming it’s some kind of contract brewing situation for that region).

Poured from a can (another cool feature) with a big chocolatey head in a hurricane glass. Great dark brown appearance, with a pleasing roasted malt aroma, some molasses and coffee mixed in there. A great light chocolate flavor, with a slight bitterness and perceptible alcohol characteristic in the finish (it’s about 8% ABV).

Really surprised and impressed with this one. Go out and find it, you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: A-