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Beer, pizza and basketball: Hops and Pie delivers a happy hour trifecta

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Happy Place: Hops and Pie, 3920 Tennyson Street, 303-477-7000.

The Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 6:30 p.m.

The Deals: $1 off draft beers and slices of pizza; $2 select drafts; $2 cans all night every Wednesday.

Were we happy? Flip the page to find out.

The Digs: Hops and Pie is a cozy and inviting hangout in Berkeley Park that's successfully riding the coattails of the high-end beer craze. The simple space is devoid of bells and whistles, all the while mimicking the kind of pizza joint your parents used to take you to on family night. The newly added dining room, separated from the original bar by a dividing wall, features vinyl seats and tables topped with small jars of Parmesan and chile flakes. The bar, a tight squeeze of barstools and tables and staff hurriedly trying to run pizzas from the small kitchen window, offers an impressive array of draft pulls, and if you're lucky enough to land a seat, you can easily drink your way through them.

The Verdict: Sometimes our happy hour desires can only be sated with sleek architecture, eclectic fashion, some wine and a big plate of charcuterie. And other times, all we really need is beer, pizza and the NBA playoffs. On a recent evening, we found ourselves longing for the latter, and within minutes our butts were firmly planted at the bar at Hops and Pie.

The extensive beer list reads like a novel, but during happy hour, the decision making process is easier, thanks to the fact that the discounts only apply to draft pours; you can also order a three-ounce sampler of whatever you want for two bucks. Why make a choice when you don't have to? "It's a good thing we're about to eat a bunch of pizza, because this could get ugly," joked the guy sitting next to us. He wasn't kidding.

The first of many beer glasses in hand, we settled in to watch the game and ordered a few slices of the BLT pizza. The large slices, their thin crusts topped with tangy tomato sauce, thick pancetta, crunchy iceberg lettuce, sliced Roma tomatoes and a drizzle of creamy ranch dressing, arrived on metal pizza plates. The crust, crispy underneath and soft on top, resulted in a light, slightly salty combo of sheer perfection. Hops and Pie also offers a variety of gluten-free and vegan options, none of which are available at happy hour, but all of which are spectacularly tasty, including the vegan mac and cheese, which has a loyal following. The bartenders, despite being rushed, were eager to shoot the breeze, and we received two gold-wrapped Rolos with our check, a chocolate-filled finale to a happy hour worth repeating.

Verdict: A-

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