From its humble beginning in a hutong near Nanluogu Xiang, Great Leap Brewing expanded first to its #12 Brewpub on Xinzhong Jie, adding a full kitchen and a Beijinger Burger Cup contending double cheeseburger. With the soft opening this week of its #45 Brewpub on Xinyuan Jie, Great Leap jumps into pizza.

Craft beer and pizza: it's what Beijinger readers told us they most enjoyed together during the 2014 Beijinger Pizza Cup. Great Leap heeds the call with two pizza ovens straight out of New York, and a pizza consultant from one of Philadelphia's top pizza kitchens. The result is six classic pizzas (plus weekly specials after grand opening) crafted by Kin Hong of Taco Bar, who curated (the Beijinger's favorite verb) GLB's #12 menu of burgers and salads.

The #45 site was still being welded when we visited, but many of the touches from #12 will be apparent, namely its Beijing-on-the-East-River feel, and the familiar windows, flooring, and of course, brewing tanks in the back. Twenty beers will ultimately be available at this location, with 10 on tap from Friday.

How's the pizza? It's really good, it may even be great. Ok, it is great, I just didn't want to do a Richard Nixon by saying The Great Wall was "great." It's American-style, served in 16-inch pies. Slices will be available in three varieties from 18-inch pizzas. Great Leap hits all the points: the crust is crispy, there's plenty of cheese without inducing a heart attack, and the toppings are fresh. Each pizza gets a finish when it comes out of the oven, some with grated parmesan cheese, some with fresh basil leaves, some with both.

Classics like pepperoni and sausage (respectively) are deeply satisfying. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the Green Machine (pictured), a veggie pizza with kale as its primary topping. Unlike most vegetable pizzas, which become soggy due to the moisture in the veggies, this was crisp and fresh throughout. It's absolutely guilt-free and vegetarians will be very, very happy.

The #45 space will seem smaller compared to #12, but expands to an outdoor deck with considerably more seating for warmer weather. The amazing touch at this location is the laser-cut steel map of Beijing, to the right of the entrance. It's art. Find your house on it. Seeing that alone is worth the trip.

Where is it? The new location is about 300 meters west of the Liangmaqiao subway station, then 100 meters north of the intersection with Capital Mansions at the southwest corner (big white building; used to be the tallest building in Beijing).

The pizza will make what is otherwise a neighborhood spot into a destination. It's also a lunch and dinner option for people working in the Lufthansa/US embassy area, and can be a dining option for shoppers headed to the Sanyuanli market.

Great Leap Brewing #45 Brewpub is now in soft opening, and expects to have a grand opening after Spring Festival.

Photo: Steven Schwankert/the Beijinger and GLB's Facebook page

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