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Pitfire Pizza teams up with local craft brews

Pitfire Pizza teams up with local craft brews
(John Verive)

There are few food-and-beverage pairings that are better known -- or more beloved -- than beer and pizza, and local chain Pitfire Pizza is elevating the match with wood-fired artisanal pies and local craft beer.

In January, the seventh outpost of the chainlet opened in Manhattan Beach, joining locations from downtown Los Angeles to North Hollywood. Pitfire is best known for its relaxed atmosphere and fresh, seasonal foods, and each location serves a selection of wines and craft beers from California.

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Although all the taps do not rotate regularly, a few are dedicated to brews that change with the seasons to match the seasonal menu of pizzas, salads and sandwiches.

The West Hollywood, downtown L.A. and Westwood locations also host monthly Brewery Nights that spotlight local craft breweries. The events feature $2 half-pints, the chance to meet and chat with brewery representatives and the opportunity for Pitfire to evaluate customer reaction to different local brews in real time.

Most recently, El Segundo Brewing Co was the featured producer in April, and brewery co-owner Tom Kelley said he hopes the event will lead to El Segundo's beers being available at Pitfire locations more regularly in the near future.

Orange County breweries Brouwerij West and the Bruery get the spotlight over the next few weeks.

The creative gypsy brewers at Brouwerij West are featured in May with an event at the Westwood location on Thursday, and at the West Hollywood and downtown L.A. locations the following Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

The Bruery's beers will be highlighted in June (the dates are still to be determined), and its often unconventional brews should make for some exciting food-pairing opportunities.

Larry Rudolph, leader of Pitfire's beverage program, says showcasing local brewers during these special events is a great way to expose Pitfire customers to great local brews as well as let the staff of certified beer servers experiment with different flavor combinations and food pairings using beers that are not regularly served.

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