October is National Pizza Month, but the Pabst Brewing Company wants you to forget “contemporary, elevated pizza parlors” and artisan margherita pies. Instead, they're looking back to those college days when you didn't need anything more than a frozen pizza and a six-pack of PBR.
Through the end of October, Pabst is hosting the “District of Pabst Pizza Crush,” a pizza-making contest between 10 neighborhood bars. They're buying each bar a countertop Hamilton Beach pizza oven and, on a designated night, supplying them with 10 frozen Totino's cheese pizzas. That's where the competition comes in: Each bar will receive $20 to spend on toppings of their choice, which must be added to the Totino's before the pizzas are served to customers.
On Wednesday, the Pug, an H Street NE bar that doesn't have an actual kitchen, hosted the first beer-and-pizza night. Bar owner Tony Tomelden, whose father was half-Filipino and half-Irish, used his $20 on longanisa sausage from the Filipino Global Market in Oxon Hill. The meat added a sweet-and-spicy flavor to the industrial tomato sauce and molten cheese.
Technically, you can't order the pizza. Instead, at the Pug, local Pabst rep Shane Dwyer walked around the bar a few times an hour with a plate of cooked, sliced pizza and offered pieces to customers drinking PBR cans and tallboys. In between, there were giveaways of PBR swag, including Halloween koozies.
Dwyer expects the rest of the events to work the same way: Buy a PBR, and you'll get a free taste of some of the bar's special pizza. “Taste” is the operative word here: You probably won't eat your fill, depending on the size of the crowd. Still, it's free — and it's a good excuse for some low-key hang time with friends at a neighborhood bar.
Of the nine events remaining, expect the Oct. 19 event at Lyman's Tavern — which features PBR on draft and both Pabst-themed and Domino's Pizza-themed pinball machines — to be one of the best.