Gluten Free and Thirsty is an ongoing series by Drink Up Columbus’ favorite glutard (that’s the probably-not-PC way to say “has a gluten allergy). For previous Gluten Free articles, click here.What goes better together than pizza and beer? It’s a classic combination. Hell, there is even a sign boasting pizza and beer that resides between Grandview Carryout and Cowtown Pizza – one arrow points to the left, the other to the right, insinuating that if you’ve got pizza, and beer, you’re all set for a night in (or out). Down the street, Granddad’s provides patrons of Byrne’s with a much needed (and delicious) fix, while Woodland’s next door offers Late Night Slice as an accompaniment to an awesome draft selection.
And as I type this, a tear wells up in the corner of my eye, as I remember that unlike most people, I can’t indulge in this delightful pairing. Pizza and beer may as well be a Celiac patient’s worst nightmare.
But there is hope.
Columbus boasts quite a few places to pick up a gluten free pie and some gluten free beer, if you’re willing to travel and apparently ask a lot of questions. But after the car ride is over and the interrogation is complete, one will be satisfied with a slice in one hand and a beer (or something closely resembling beer) in the other. Glutards, feast on!
(Polaris, Dublin near Sawmill and 161)
Pizza: Gluten free, dedicated, and delicious. Mellow Mushroom has partnered with Still Riding pizza crust company, located in Denver, to offer delicious gfree pies. They espouse best practices when it comes to gluten free cooking including changing gloves, dedicated surfaces, and supposedly dedicated ovens. While I didn’t get sick, I have heard through the Celiac grapevine that instances of glutening have occurred at MM. Regardless, the Still Riding crust offers a solid foundation for gluten free toppings, using bean flour as one of its main ingredients which helps to maintain stability when picking up slices with your hands, and adds a sweeter flavor to the crust.
Beer: They have Cranberry Cider on tap in Dublin, and carry a variety of other ciders as well including Woodchuck and Oliver Winery’s Peach Bean Blossom cider which clocks in at a whopping 8% ABV. It tastes like Peach Schnapps mixed with champagne, but I think Oliver is on to something. Mellow Mushroom’s beer list for non-glutards is extensive so bring your friends. Overall A+ on the variety of drinks.
(Grandview at King and Northstar)
Pizza: Mama Mimi’s makes pizza for you to take and bake at home, which is awesome for rainy Wednesday nights when you don’t want to put your pants back on after you get home from work. They offer gluten free pizza every day at the Grandview location, which also are made using the Still Riding crust mentioned earlier. They have several topping selections and provide information on how the pizza is prepared, so each patron is fully aware of cross contamination risk etc. Mama Mimi’s has several locations in Columbus including stores in Arlington, Clintonville, Hilliard, and Powell, but the Grandview location is the only one attached to a top-notch beer and wine store.
Beer: Gentile’s is well known for their homebrew supplies, beer selection, and variety of wine and is conveniently located inside the same building as Mama Mimi’s. After placing your pizza order at the front of the store, head toward the back to check out Gentile’s ample selection of ciders, wine, and beer. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, make sure you ask because it’s easy to overlook bottles on the packed shelves. A great bottle of cider I picked up recently is called Julian which is quite dry and goes well with pizza. You can find it in the front cooler amongst other singles including Raspberry Bean Blossom cider, another high ABV and delicious cider from the Indiana winery, Oliver.
Pizza: I’m not sure where their crust is sourced from, but I do know it’s good. According to their website, the foundation is made from a combination of rice, tapioca, and potato flours which any gluten free baker knows is a solid combination. The crust is a little chewier and less sweet than Still Riding’s, which is a preferable combination for me. Currently, the pizzas only can be ordered in size small but they’re supposed to be working on this. zpizza doesn’t offer dedicated ovens or kitchen space so eating pizza there is more of a gamble. Be sure to communicate the severity of your gluten intolerance over the phone and with your server in order to ensure a positive experience.
Beer: zpizza carries Redbridge, Bard’s Tale, and New Grist gluten free beers. Of the three, I think New Grist tastes the best but this is all based on personal preference. As I’ve said before, I’m not the largest fan of gluten free beer made from sorghum and other non-malt grains, however some people really like it.
As always, be sure to ask lots of questions when you order your pie. Many times, despite a restaurant’s best effort, servers and kitchen staff will fall through the cracks in regards to best practices when it comes to gluten free food preparation, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.