It’s no secret that some of the best (and most needed) nights are those spent at a table with your best friends and wine and cheese. It’s on these nights that laughs are shared and incredible amounts of cheese are consumed, but who really cares when it comes to cheese? No one, that’s who.

What’s out there for those who don’t drink much wine? And what about those fellas who wouldn’t dare to be caught holding a glass of their favorite pinot noir? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

Instead of wine and cheese nights, try pizza and beer nights. You still get copious amounts of cheesy goodness, plus the euphoria of craft beer pairings. Most pizzerias also offer gluten-free pies for our g-free peeps out there.

However, just like wine and cheese, certain pizzas and beers were meant for each other, and it is our job to help you be the best matchmakers you can be. Below are some of the suggested pizza and beer pairings that will turn any ordinary pizza night into a work of culinary art.

Margherita and Pale Ale

Pizza and Beer

Photo by Alex Weiner

If you’re one for simple margherita pizza, try a pale ale. The ale’s malt flavor will complement the pizza’s toasty crust and balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. The lightness of the beer will also not drown out the subtle flavor of the mozzarella but rather push it to the forefront, allowing cheese to be the center of attention, as it should be.

Pale Ales: Sierra Nevada, Deschutes Mirror Pond, Victory Headwaters

Pepperoni and IPA

Pizza and Beer

Photo by Christine Chang

If you prefer the classic pepperoni or meat lover’s pie, go for an India Pale Ale (IPA). The bitterness of an IPA will give great balance to the saltiness of the meat. Most known for its use of more hops than your general pale ale, the IPA has the added bonus of an increased alcohol content for those who like more “umph” to their beers.

IPAs: Troeg’s Perpetual, Ballas Point Sculpin, Dogfish Head 90 Minute

Hawaiian and Fruit Ale

Pizza and Beer

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The exotic Hawaiian pizza is a favorite for many, but its flavors are elevated when paired with a fruit-based ale. The subtle sweetness of a strawberry, grapefruit, or cherry ale not only complements the sweetness of the pineapple topping and acidity of the tomato, but gives a great contrast to the salty ham.

Fruit Ales: Sam Smith’s Organic Strawberry or Cherry, Blue Point Blueberry, Founder’s Rubaeus

Mushroom and Spinach and Stout

Pizza and Beer

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Mushroom and spinach pizza is truly a heavenly combination, but what’s even better is this pie when paired with a stout. Milk and chocolate stouts tend to be sweeter than dry stouts or porters. The sweetness of a milk or chocolate stout adds an amazing flavor profile to the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and spinach that adorn this pie.

Chocolate Stouts: Sam’s Smith Organic Chocolate, Founder’s Breakfast, Rogue Chocolate

Cheese and Wheat Ale

Pizza and Beer

Photo by Tracy Vo

And last but not least, the classic cheese pizza. Now, it may seem like just any beer would go well with a cheese pizza. Wrong. This pie prefers light or wheat beers. That’s great news for those who ball on a budget and rely on Miller or Coors Light to get them through the weekend. Because this pie is plain in nature, light, not-so-hoppy beers allow it to shine, especially when multiple types of cheeses are used.

Wheat Ales: Blue Moon, Sam Adam’s Summer, 312 Urban Wheat

Next time you’re feeling a wine and cheese night, go for pizza and beer instead — because the only thing better than cheese is melted cheese (and the only thing that can make pizza better than it already is can be found in a bottle of the best craft beer a college student can find).