Fireside Pies Proves: There's More Than One Way to Throw a Pizza, Assuming There's Beer

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Pizza and beer go together like everything else and beer, so it's easy to deduce that pizza and pitchers of beer are even better mates. It's the American way, right?

Fireside Pies sells a lot of both pizza and beer, and I finally ducked my head in the Henderson Avenue location to check the place out.

A wrap-around bar lets customers watch the pizza-makers press out rounds and let them rest, grind fresh cheese from a massive block of parmigiano reggiano and plate up salads, all while the smell of pungent truffle oil lingers in the air. A pitcher of Moretti will set you back $18 and yield four pints of beer, a fair value considering four pints would run you $24. On Sunday and Monday, however, pitchers are half off -- a bang-up deal, and it doesn't hurt that the pizza is pretty good too.

With so much nobility, press and attention given to Neapolitan pizza, it's easy to forget all the other crust styles you can choose from. Fireside uses a pretty simple cold-ferment dough that's fired in a wood-burning oven for a sort-of-Americanized-Italian-pizza. A Neapolitan purist might say the dough lacks character and flavor, but other pizza lovers might appreciate that the dough stands up to heavy toppings better. Neapolitan pizza can get droopy.

It's a good thing, considering how the cooks at Fireside top their pies. Mine was blanketed in a quilt of mozzarella that oozed and drew strings of melting milk fat as I picked up a slice and took a bite. Jimmy's Sausage topped my pie and brought its neighborhood charm and spicy flavor, and I watched the Rangers hand the Blue Jays a win with a walk-off home run just down the bar. It was almost a perfect night.

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