Drew and Leah Watson founded their Berkeley neighborhood pizzeria and craft-beer bar, Hops & Pie, ten years ago, and recently added Berkeley Donuts inside the restaurant, at 3920 Tennyson Street, to serve early risers. What they never could have anticipated is that the combination of pizza, multiple tap handles and doughnuts would turn out to be an excellent way to serve neighbors stuck at home during Denver's coronavirus shelter-in-place mandate.
People want comfort right now, and nothing's more comforting than what's currently on the menu for curbside pick-up and delivery at Hops & Pie. Thanks to a temporary easing of Colorado liquor laws from Governor Jared Polis, the Watsons can serve their entire lineup of artisan beers to go (at a significant discount) for customers with 16-, 32- and 64-ounce containers, and they've also got 16- and 32-ounce Mason jars in case you don't have your own growler.
And don't forget the doughnuts, which are available beginning at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
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For dinner, you can order pizza, the sandwich of the week (this week it's Nashville hot chicken) or the eatery's legendary IPA mac and cheese. The combination of to-go beer sales and a menu that translates well to delivery has kept Hops & Pie going strongly enough that so far no employees have been laid off. That's comforting news, as is the fact that Drew and Leah are willing to share their mac and cheese recipe in case you want to make it yourself at home. Here it is, in all its cheesy glory:
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper corn
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cup sharp cheddar
3 cups elbow macaroni (cooked)
1 cup English peas (cooked)
1/4 cup shredded/braised ham hock
1/4 cup of any West Coast style IPA
1 tbsp chopped bacon
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Tapatio hot sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a sauce pan add cream, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached, reduce the heat to medium and stir regularly to prevent burning and boil-over.
Once the cream is reduced by 3/4, strain through a fine mesh strainer into another saucepan. Return the pan with the strained cream to a medium flame and stir in the cheddar. Once the cheddar is fully incorporated, add hot sauce and cracked black pepper to taste.
Add the macaroni, peas and ham hock to the pan and stir well. Add the IPA and continue stirring until hot. Add salt to taste and place the mixture in a large baking dish. Top with the chopped bacon and breadcrumbs. Bake until the breadcrumbs become golden brown and crispy.
Hops & Pie is continuing to offer $125 gift cards for just $100, as well as 20 percent off every order made through its website. Visit the Hops & Pie and Berkeley Donuts websites for online ordering and hours of operation.