(All photos by Bart Koscinski for Bushwick Daily unless otherwise specified)

There’s been a lot of buzz going on in Bushwick about Union Pizza Works, the  pizzeria that opened its doors two Fridays ago on Troutman Street.  I stopped by that Saturday to try it for myself and when I found out they are BYOB until they get their liquor license, I knew I would have to grabs some beer and head back before I left town for the holidays.  Last Thursday before the Bushwick Daily Holiday Party at The Rookery, my photographer Bart Koscinski and I scored some beers at two of my favorite local beer destinations and sat down to enjoy them with two of Giorgio’s scrumptious pies at UPW.

Erin sips on the Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA

The first beer we paired with our funghi and chorizo pizzas was a 22 oz bottle of Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA, recommended to us by Rafael Martinez at The Sampler.  The beer is a light golden copper in the glass and smells like citrus and, well, flowers.  The sweet, floral presence of the jasmine dominates the flavor profile here without going overboard thanks to the nice balance provided by bittering hops.  The flavors are a bit strange and yet play off each other nicely.  While by no means my favorite IPA, I enjoyed sipping on a couple of glasses with dinner and Bart, who is often turned off by extremely bitter IPAs, thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

Pizza and Beer – nom!

Since we have such different tastes in beer (I like extremities – IPAs, Stouts, Porters – Bart like more moderate brews), for our next tasting, we sampled different cans from Hops and Hocks, under advisement from their beer curator Blake Jordan. For myself I went with a more traditional, hop-hitting IPA: Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA, named for the speedy ball game played in the Basque region of Spain.  Hops dominate entirely here, huge and fruity and grassy, hitting you hard in the aroma and bitter on the tongue, but not entirely masking some nice caramel malt.  It was especially refreshing following a bit of the spicy chorizo pizza.  This is a beautiful example of a heavily hopped IPA.

Bart braves the elements to carry his leftover pizza home (photo by Erin Wicks from Bushwick Daily).

Bart’s second brew was Stillwater Artisanal AlesClassique, a Saison, Farm Ale hybrid.  Stillwater’s M.O. is combing Belgian and American brew styles, to create their own unique flavor profiles.  I was too engrossed in my IPA/pizza pairing to give it a proper taste so Bart provided a description.  The Classique has a lemony, bready, slightly spicy taste, complemented by the aroma.  It has a medium body that makes it refreshing and easy to drink, and pairs very well with the (delicious) spicy salami pizza from UPW.  Recommended for newcomers to craft beer and drinkers looking for a solid example of the Saison style.

Beer and pizza is one of America’s greatest pastimes.  I advise everyone to take a trip to UPW while you can bring your own beer (the pizzeria appears to have taps for four different beers once they get their license) and experiment with pairings.  Try our recommendations above or stop by The Sampler or Hops and Hocks to get pairing consults from Rafael or Blake.  Your mouth will thank you!

Eat pizza.



Our Union Pizza Works experience, complement by beers from The Sampler and Hops and Hocks  4/5 stars – 1 for delicious pizza without a two-hour wait, 1 for Giorgio’s lovely hospitality at UPW, 2 for the current BYOB status that allows for experimenting with pairings and bringing in your own brews from our wonderful local beer shops.

Union Pizza Works is located at 423 Troutman Street, Bushwick.  They are open nightly from 6pm – 12am.  Six slice pizzas range from $12 – 15.

The Sampler is located at 234 Starr St and is open Monday-Thursday 12-11; Friday-Saturday 12-12; Sunday 12-9. A 22 oz. bottle of the Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA is $8.99.

Hops & Hocks is located at 2 Morgan Avenue, just past Flushing.  It is open daily from 11am – 8pm.  Our cans we’re $2.75 a pop.

Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks