It’s hard to think of a food combination more heaven-sent than pizza and beer.
So it only makes sense that a company that prides itself on being “Conceived in heaven, brewed in California” would make the connection as well. Earlier this month the newly revived St. Stan’s Brewery began serving freshly made pies out of its new wood-fired pizza oven. Since opening in July, St. Stan’s has been pouring its craft beers at its new location at 1028 11th St. But the plan all along since buying the St. Stan’s name, licensing and recipes was to serve food as well.
St. Stan’s owners Rich Hodder and Chad Rice have partnered with Paul’s Rustic Oven to bring its artisan pizza dreams to reality.
“There is a synergy here that is hard to duplicate,” said Paul Ollson, the Paul of Paul’s Rustic Oven. “Yes we have great beer. Yes we have great pizza. But it’s also the great ambiance here.”
Hodder and Rice purchased a new wood-burning Mugnaini pizza oven as part of the process of bringing St. Stan’s back. Modesto’s signature microbrewery was originally founded in 1984, and claims to be the seventh oldest craft brewery in the United States. It sat at Ninth and L streets for decades. But after a series of changes in ownership the brewery stopped operating in 2013. In 2015 the attached restaurant, which had changed its named to Hero’s Sports Lounge, closed as well.
The new St. Stan’s is in the old Sandude Taproom space and its beer is all brewed at the Turlock site of Sandude Brewing Co. Hodder and Rice also brought back longtime St. Stan’s brewmaster Bill Coffey to revive the company’s traditional beers. Coffey said he is committed to bringing back St. Stan’s original, ’80s-style German beers. They’ve been steadily adding beers to the roster with 17 beers on tap including 15 new and old St. Stan’s recipes. They include the St. Stan’s Graffiti Wheat, Alt Bier, Red Ale and others.
And, fans of Stan’s potent Barley Wine take heart. For the first time in more than a decade Coffey is brewing a batch of the high-alcohol content concoction and said it should be ready in about three months.
Until then there are plenty of other beers to try and pair with the yummy pizza. Pies come in personal (9-inch) or pizzetta (6-inch slice-size). The Italian-style pizzas are made from scratch with special flour that can withstand the high heat. Pizzas varieties from a classic Margherita made from crushed tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil to garlic chicken and spinach with a garlic cream sauce. And, yes, you can just get pepperoni. Because of the intense heat inside the brick oven, which can range from the high 700 to low 800 degrees, they take a skilled hand — or more like pizza paddle — to keep them from burning and bake in only 90 seconds. An average commercial oven maxes out at 550 to 600 degrees.
Ollson said the current menu of eight pies and salads will expand with time. He has run Paul’s Rustic Oven, his mobile pizza and catering business, since 2010. This is the first brick-and-mortar restaurant for him and the St. Stan’s owners, and they want to grow the business partnership organically.
And to celebrate they are throwing St. Stan’s Day at the taproom Oct. 21. The event will be a grand opening celebration with beer prices rolled back to 1984. That means a pint will put you back $2.50. There also will be two new St. Stan’s beers unveiled, an ’80s cover band and other festivities. Dressing up as a monk is optional.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Looking for holiday work? Pink and Victoria’s Secret in Vintage Faire Mall are holding a hiring event Sunday.
Job seekers are invited between 8 and 10 a.m. Sunday (before the mall’s open hours) for information and interviews. Those interested in positions must be at least 18 years old and are asked to submit a resume and fill out an application online before attending at www.victoriassecret.com/careers.