Beer Man

Hops & Pie, serving artisan pizza and tons of craft brews, opened today on Tennyson

Drew and Leah Watson have lived in five cities in ten years, moving from coast to coast, following each others' careers in the restaurant industry. But whether it was upscale eateries in Cape Cod or Boston, Napa or San Diego, one thing held true.

"We love pizza," Drew says.

So, with that in mind, and a desire to settle down, the couple moved to Denver where Leah has family, and decided to open a pizza joint serving three styles of pizza and good craft beer. Hops & Pie, at 3920 Tennyson Street, started serving today.

"After living in California, we fell in love with craft beer," Drew says. "And pizza and beer go great together." In fact, the Watsons lived three blocks away from Pizza Port in Solano Beach, a place that makes some of the most renowned beer in the country (and its pies - especially the Monterey - aren't bad either).

"That's sort of where we kind of got the idea," Drew says.

But the Watsons have their own take -- and their own recipes.

Hops & Pie will serve traditional East Coast-style slices and pies, thicker Sicillian pizzas, and four of five artisan pizzas -- the kind with fig and bacon and watercress -- using whatever ingredients are in season. "And we'll do deliver and takeout like the places we both grew up going to," Drew says. "We'd been running other people's restaurants for so long, we wanted to do our thing. But we learned a lot and got crazy experience and now we can apply all those fine dining techniques and put them in pizza."

And then there's the beer. Hops & Pie has twenty taps full of craft beer, from Colorado and elsewhere, including some big and rare brews like Great Divide's Yeti, Russian River Damnation and Stone Smoked Porter. They also have a big selection of elite and small-batch beers in 22-ounce bomber bottles.

And if that's not enough beer, the pizza crusts will be made with 50 percent beer - Ska Brewing's Modus Hoperendi - and 50 percent water, instead of 100 percent water, Drew says. Plus, there's the IPA Mac & Cheese, made with Modus as well.

"A lot of years went into this," he adds. And a lot of beers.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes