We made a beer, and it’s the drink of the sum­mer.

Metro Magazine NZ - - Contents - TEXT — METRO FOOD WRIT­ERS

We made a beer, and it’s the drink of the sum­mer.

Metrowent to craft brew­ers Ur­ba­naut spilling over with po­ten­tial fes­tive ideas (ki­wifruit and pav-flavoured, maybe?), but de­cided to go with a theme with just a tad more longevity — sum­mer. A drink you want to down near the sea when lick­ing the rem­nants of salty fries from your fin­gers; a drink you can toast with friends while sit­ting un­der the beat­ing sun, shar­ing a tasty meal.

Matchy Matchy is a horo­pito and kawakawa gose, de­scribed by big fan Henry Oliver as “slightly spicy, slightly salty, and en­tirely de­li­cious”. It’s a very light beer, al­most cider-like, with earthy kawakawa and pep­pery horo­pito notes — quite aro­matic, if we do say so our­selves. It’s all wrapped in a can fea­tur­ing a trippy il­lus­tra­tion by Metro con­trib­u­tor Robert Wal­lace, a float­ing sea of flu­o­res­cent food and goo­gly eyes.

We got some restau­rants in­volved and told them to matchy matchy with our Matchy Matchy. (Rep­e­ti­tion is a brand aware­ness tool, right?) La Fuente, Umu

Pizza, Ra­men Takara, Satya Chai Lounge and Food Truck Garage put their best foot for­ward with ra­men and burg­ers and tacos — all ex­cel­lent se­lec­tions. It was then up to Metro read­ers to vote for their favourite.

Af­ter a few weeks of tastetest­ing, the best matchy matchy ul­ti­mately went to Umu Pizza, who paired our beer with their Num­ber Six pizza, fea­tur­ing house-made lamb mer­guez sausage with harissa, feta, moz­zarella and herb yo­ghurt.

We weren’t sur­prised. Metro de­clared Umu the mak­ers of the best pizza in the re­gion in our 2019 end-of-year Best of Auck­land round-up, hail­ing the crispy bases — made with 36- to 48-hour fer­mented sour­dough — and charred crusts, all lumpy and un­even (so good they could pos­si­bly con­vert a mis­led crust hater). The bases are hand-stretched with no ad­di­tives, care that is ob­vi­ous in the end re­sult.

The Num­ber Six (out of nine piz­zas, all of which are good) is tangy as hell, light­ened up with fresh, brac­ing mint scat­tered on top. Hot and spicy harissa is mel­lowed out by swirls of herb yo­ghurt, and there’s a lit­tle wel­come dust­ing of dukkah. The mer­guez sausage is rich and jam-packed with flavour.

Owner Si­mon Mur­phy says they were drawn to the heavy rich­ness of the sausage to bal­ance with the light, cit­rusy notes of the beer, while also cre­at­ing a heady con­trast be­tween Matchy Matchy’s fresh­ness and the spici­ness of the harissa. They’d al­most gone with a lighter pizza but, turns out, their gam­ble paid off — and he says it’s be­come a staff favourite, too.

Pizza and beer is, un­de­ni­ably, a clas­sic food pair­ing within the culi­nary canon. There’s some­thing about chow­ing down on saucy carbs that makes you crave a cold beer; it’s the mesh of savoury-salty-sat­is­fy­ing that de­mands some­thing re­fresh­ing to wash it all down — prefer­ably some­thing cold, with a sour bite.

Umu Pizza is a classy lit­tle joint. Seat­ing only about

24, there is sweet­ness to the in­te­rior, with ex­posed brick walls and soft yel­low ta­bles.

The pizza-oven cen­tre­piece is un­miss­able, tak­ing up pride of place near the en­trance­way, a gi­gan­tic dome tiled in mo­saic-like white, with a gap­ing semi-cir­cle mouth lead­ing in to blaz­ing wood.

And there is such a good drinks list, we’d rec­om­mend eat­ing in. Aside from Matchy Matchy, there’s a range of craft beers and (mostly New Zealand) wines. Hap­pily, there’s also a happy hour ev­ery day they’re open, 5-7pm, with drink and food spe­cials ($13 pizza!).

Long live Matchy Matchy, and long live the chance to drink it with a Num­ber Six at Umu Pizza.

ABOVE— Happy-hour spe­cials at Umu in­clude a pizza for only $13.

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