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Beer Brat BBQ Pizza - Aldi: Cherry Hill, NJ
In 2014, several Aldi-exclusive brands released pizzas with some interesting flavors, like Chicken Club, Gyro, Tandoori, and Cuban. I had a lot of fun buying and trying them all, and while none of them were inedible, I can't say they were all enjoyable either. The Chicken club was one of the richest, cheesiest, and crispiest freezer pizzas I have ever had, the others? Well, they were fun concepts, but none worked nearly as well as the Chicken Club.
Even though I wasn't wowed by the last few Aldi pizzas I've reviewed, I still wanted to give this Beer Brat version a try. It's so different from the others, and it's only specialty take-and-bake pizza they currently offer. (Although more might be on the way soon.) Let's see if this pizza was worth the purchase.
The box for this pizza was WAY too big for my photo set up, which is meant for tiny foods, so this photo was taken with my cellphone in the Aldi freezer case.
Unlike the other Aldi pizzas I've reviewed, this one is from their Take & Bake line, so it's kept in the refrigerated section instead of the freezer, and it's packaged similarly to a take-out pizza. The rest of the pizzas in this line are 16", while this one is only 14, so it's a bit smaller than usual, and it's a bit more expensive. Even with the price tag padded a little bit, it was still cheaper than a delivery pizza of the same size with the same amount of toppings. As far as the design goes, I like the simple brown cardboard and black text, and it does a good job of looking nice while staying relatively cheap. It isn't as gorgeous as other full color pizza boxes, but it gets the job done just fine.
I removed the shrink plastic from the refrigerated pizza, preheated the oven, and baked it until the crust started the brown and the cheese bubbled. (Just like you would with any other frozen/refrigerated pizza.) When it was done, it smelled sweet, like BBQ sauce and caramelized onions. The aroma was much sweeter than I originally thought it'd be, and I couldn't detect anything beer-y about it.
I sliced it up, and took a bite. I gotta say, I can't taste any beer in this at all. Part of me is relieved, I hate beer, but that does seem like false advertizing. The box said that this was covered with a "Beer BBQ sauce," but it tastes like Kraft Honey BBQ to me. It's really sweet, a little onion-y, and tomato-y. It's not bad at all, it's just really sweet. As for the rest of the pizza, the caramelized peppers and onions added a different texture, but they were really sweet as well, and the cheese blend was pretty mild. The strongest flavoring, other than the sauce, were the thick slices of bratwurst which added a slightly spicy and meaty flavor.
It's been a long time since I've eaten Bratwurst, I think I had some during a Christmas party in 2013, so I don't really have a vivid brat-based memory to compare this to, but to me, these slices taste like a better version of the sausage crumbles that delivery pizza usually comes with. These slices were moist, meaty, and they helped to offset the sweetness just a bit. (Moist and meaty... that was awful to type.)
I don't think I would buy this pizza again, it was just too sweet for me, it needs something strong to cut through all that sweetness, maybe some spicy peppers? Then again, that's my personal preference. If you enjoy the sweet BBQ sauce based pizzas from Papa John's, you'll love this one. This was better than the last three Papa John's pizzas I've tried, but it was just too sweet for me to want to repurchase.
Papa Johns better step-up their game, you're getting beaten by a no-frills grocery store brand.
© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net
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