One mile west of downtown Stamford in the Bull’s Head Shopping Center, COALHOUSE PIZZA not only offers the greatest and widest selection of coal-fired pizzas, but also 50-plus tapped beers alongside 50 bottled selections and a whole lot of Blues and Jazz music.
On my initial dinnertime visit, the recommended pizza joint (open 2009) is hopping at 8 PM on a Wednesday in mid-December ’12. The Main Room community tables are packed so I head into the cozy left side dining area with my wife and youngest son. Two TV’s sidling the doorway to a backroom (where karaoke singers wreak havoc and kids play shuffleboard) show the Nets game and the Madison Square Garden Hurricane Sandy concert while I order 16-ounce Mason-jarred beers such as previously untried Allagash Yakuza Tripel, Blue Moon Caramel Apple and Clown Shoes Miracle IPA (reviewed in the Beer Index). A fabulous beer bottle collection runs across the overhead shelving and several homemade stringed instruments line the far wall above a gorgeous mural featuring many famous Blues, Jazz and rock artists.
The open kitchen in the Main Room serves pizza as well as burgers, pulled pork and several salads (named after popular Blues or Jazz tunes or musicians). I order the delicious red-peppered honey-glazed Ma Rainey Chicken Wings while my wife goes for the half Favorite Things (ricotta-cheesed mozzarella, rosemary, prosciutto and garlic pesto) and half Kind Of Blue (goat-cheesed mozzarella, pancetta ham, goat onions, capers and balsamic reduction). My son settles on the equally fine Freddy Freeloader (Monterey Jack-cheesed mozzarella, chicken, scallions and sour cream).
During May ’16, revisited ambitious pizza-beer joint to try three fabulous dark ales alongside two mixed pizzas. By this point, Coalhouse Pizza had added an exquisitely upscale sportsbar in the rear with sapele wood-adorned top shelf liquor and 100 draught taps. Featuring a 14-stool laminated wood bar, multiple TV’s, compact 4-seat tables, one large booth and a beautiful Blues-collaged mural, it’s the pride of hands-on owner/ manager Gerard Robertson.
As for the pizza and beer, my wife and I enjoyed stout-marinated Sunny Side Of The Street (goat-cheesed figs, prosciutto and parmesan), cherrystone-clammed Shake Your Money Maker (bacon, pesto, mozzarella, parmesan and garlic), roasted pepper-sauced Minnie The Moocher (eggplant, mozzarella, onion, poblano and garlic) and goat-cheesed Hoodoo Man (arugula, onions, almond and balsamic reduction). On the liquid side, New England Coup Beans Coffee Oatmeal Stout, Singlecut More Cowbell! Chocolate Milk Stout and Meantime Naval College Old Porter proved to be tremendous finds (fully reviewed in Beer Index).
Several cool specials run daily, including Wednesday’s trivia night and Thursday’s 50 cent mini-wings (plus occasional tap takeovers). Week day Happy Hours run from 3 to 5 PM, offering $5 select drafts and half-price mixed drinks.
Wonderfully affordable for families and absolutely perfect for parties, Coalhouse Pizza may well be Connecticut’s best pizza-beer hotspot.