Pitchers and Pizza Tour samples city's best

Anthony Dominic, Crave

If you're like me, there's no shortage of pizza joints around the city, both new and old, you keep meaning to visit, but never seem to find the time to do so. Fortunately, the folks behind Columbus Brew Adventures understand this dilemma. It's why they've launched their Pitchers and Pizza Tour, a chauffeured jaunt of some of Columbus' finest pies, paired with some of the region's best craft brews. The tour lasts about four hours, with each of the four stops along the way highlighting a different style of pizza and beer.

Company co-owner Jim Ellison (a self-described pizza scholar) is your guide. At each stop, he shares the history behind the business and the respective styles of the pizza and beers sampled. The tour's vibe is relaxed, but Ellison's aim is, in part, educational.

You'll meet Ellison and his oversized Brew Adventures van at Meister's Bar, a Browns-Backers dive on Chambers Road near Grandview. Here, the kitchen staff slow-cooks giant, Chicago-style deep dish pies. You'll wash down the thick, chewy crust and zesty red sauce with nearby Four String Brewing's Brass Knuckle American Pale Ale.

Next up is Iacono's Pizza and Restaurant on the Northwest side. Samples include the kitchen's square-cut margarita, pepperoni and sausage pizzas (the sausage is made in house), with pitchers of Columbus Brewing Co.'s IPA. While you taste the wares, Ellison makes a compelling case for why Iacono's exemplifies true Columbus-style pizza.

The third stop is Mikey's Late Night Slice, wedged inside cozy Ledo's Tavern in Old North Columbus. The spread features foldable, New York-style cheese and pepperoni slices with glasses of Gnarly Brown ale from Cincinnati-based MadTree Brewing. This beer-strong and nutty with coffee and chocolate notes-was my favorite of the tour.

The night ends at neighboring Hounddog's. Ellison believes Hounddog's endlessly customizable pies defy classification. During our visit, the highlight was the loaded veggie pizza with Smokin' Joes garlic-butter battered crust. The beer pairing is Jackie O's Chomolungma, a full-bodied honey nut brown ale that stands up to the greasy slices.

Tours are held typically held every other Sunday, twice a month, and occasionally on Wednesday during warm seasons. Tickets are $55 per person. The next tours will be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 28, both starting at 5 p.m. Ellison asks that everyone arrives to Meister's 10 minutes early.