Catch a Slice of This Smoked Alewife Pizza While You Can

Odd Alewives Farm Brewery’s seasonal pie is only on the menu for about one month a year.

Smoke alewife and pickled onion pizza from Odd Alewives Farm Brewery
Photo by Dave Waddell
By Will Grunewald
From our June 2024 issue

Among bald eagles, ospreys, and seals, the consensus is that alewives taste great. Humans, on the other hand, tend to have less enthusiasm for the sea-run herring species that surges up Maine rivers every spawning season (in growing numbers, thanks to dam removals and improved water quality). Alewives are bony, oily, and fishy. Most of the ones that wind up in nets become lobster bait. Some, however, become pizza. Between Odd Alewives Farm Brewery’s name, its location (99 Old Rte. 1, Waldoboro. 207-790- 8406) just uphill from the Medomak River (“place of many alewives” in Abenaki), its popular wood-fired pizza oven, and its knack for incorporating unusual local ingredients in beer, an attempt at alewife pie was probably inevitable. The pizza usually hits the brewery’s menu in late May, a few weeks after the fish start running, and it sticks around into the middle of June. Alewives are big enough — up to a foot long — that they can’t be slapped down anchovy-style. Instead, they’re smoked and incorporated into a cream sauce, which gets slathered beneath mozzarella and provolone, fresh arugula, pickled red onion, and a drizzle of lemon vinaigrette. Without obscuring the distinct smack of fish, the crunchy,  acidic toppings smartly balance out the rich, smoky sauce. Alewife is an acquired taste, no doubt, but this pizza makes the acquisition pretty easy.

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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