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Special Pale Ale (SPA) - Pizza Port Solana Beach

Not Rated.
Special Pale Ale (SPA)Special Pale Ale (SPA)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

43 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 43
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 6.75%
Wants: 10
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pizza Port Solana Beach visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-07-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured aclear light copper with a thinner wispy white head,nice fresh aromas quite floral and citrusy mainly grapefruit with notes of apricot and pineapple as well there seemed to be a toasted note underneath as well.Pretty well balanced the hops winning out by a small margin, citrusy and fresh grapefruit rind and over ripe pinapple dominate with an underlying lightly carmale sweet malt base.Refreshing and seems lighter that its alc% quite flavorful and goes down easy,recomended for sure.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 9/2/2012 at Pour Farm Tavern in New Bedford, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruity citrus, some hops and light caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a nice burst of hops bitterness. Then some citrus and caramel sweetness comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice beer to pound down for a long time.

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

07/03/05- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA

Presentation- 12oz stubby bottle (reminescent of a shorter Sierra Nevada bottle). Undated and poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Fat creamy white pock marked head, golden-orange color pour with what looked like suspended yeast floaties in mid air....and lots of them. Average amounts of lacing.

Smell- The first whiff almost burned my nosehairs off completely. It was like the maximum amount of pine hops mixed with butane lighter fluid and paint thinner. To me, that was a good thing.

Taste- Very good sweeter malt backbone with a very nice chunk of pine resinous hops tossed in. A tad bit of grapefruit and maybe a touch of orange peel tossed in for good measure.

Mouthfeel- Pale ale quality carbonation with a sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability- One of the top pale ales I have had. I knew when my eyes spotted Pizza Port on the shelves that I was in for something special.

Photo of tempest
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Ortino's Northside and served in a pint glass for $5. Whew, if I weren't on a mission to try new beers tonight, I could stick with this for hours. At first I had a little trouble discerning it from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. But as it warm, a deeper character and complexity came forward. Under the bright, piney and citrusy hops is a more earthy and herbal finish that reminds me of rhubarb. There's a light biscuit note from the malts, but the beer is largely hop-focused with the barley occasionally blending in for interesting candied fruit flavors. Find this beer if you like hops and pale ales.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a orange with good carbonation, even after it had set for a day, it billowed out with a sizeable white head. Nose is very sweet, big hops, citrus, grapefruit but not as much as it was fresh from the tap. Taste is sweet with floral, grapefruit and pine, caramel malt. I thought the hop bitterness picked up in the growler.

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ the source. A pale ale dry hopped with 100% Amarillo.

A: Pours a clear tangerine with a half-inch thick white head which leaves spotty lace.

N: Lightly floral, citrus, some catty notes. Fairly low aromatics.

T: Piney and spicy orange citrus, herbal with some dankness, catty, and floral.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Dry and bitter finish.

O: A solid pale with a weak aroma, but flavorful.

Photo of Bighuge
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazed orange-amber. Small beige head leaves moderate amounts of lace. Aroma is just as it should be. Dominated by hop qualities with a backdrop of caramel malts. The hops impart a citrusy, piney, pungent-like aroma. Very nice. This one is very nice on the buds. Hops are noticeable, but not over-bearing. They add touches of resin, grapefruit, cannabis and pine sap to the overall equation. Malts provide a sturdy enough foundation with caramel/toffee malt tones the primary ones. A nice little bitterness lingers with the fresh hoppiness on the palate long after the sip. Finish is a little dry and also grassy. Body checks in around medium. Alcohol is not very evident. This one's good. Could be a go-to kind of brew for me if it were available.

Senior Shit is a pretty cool guy. He actually brought this back for me from his trip to San Diego. Thanks dude.

Photo of Gusler
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draught @ Real Ale Fest & Pizza Port
The beers sets in the glass a slightly hazy golden amber color with a generous head and a nice bit of lace, white in color, semi-creamy in texture. Nose is hop floral sweet and crisp, start is also sweet with a nice malt profile, top is moderate. Finish was moderate in carbonation with the hops upfront and plentiful, dry long lasting aftertaste, had it at the fest and the Carlsbad Pizza Port, to good to pass up at either place.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank this at the Lost Abbey barrel tasting last night, one of the few beers that I went back for multiple pours of.

Clear orange with a dense white head with great retention and lacing. A pretty beautiful beer, this is. The nose is quite outstanding. Plenty of delicate floral and citrus hops, a very pure orange character. In many ways, it reminds me of Parking Violation, a very pure expression of citrus hops. Pine and grapefruit are reserved, and the malt character is low. The palate opens with a firm hop character with a lot of flavor and low bitterness. Mostly citrus in character, bursting with ripe oranges. The finish is long and dry, with a mild bitterness. Malt character is pretty non-existent, this is all flavor hops. Thoroughly drinkable, I wish I'd gotten a growler of this.

Photo of tavernjef
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the brewpub: Softly lit copper with a cascade of dull ochre dancing up to put a poof of light yellowed froth on top. Settles with a thicker set foam of oatmeal creamyness. Lacing in dump truck loads of sandy coated sheeting.

Aroma is citrusy with a high ended alpha acid aridness. Crisp toned with a orange/lemon sided tint with grapefruit jam. Juicy and thickly lingering within its crispness. Quite unique in its quality.

Taste is all about the citrus bitterness. Lemon, grapefruit, and orange all scrap across with pure quality alpha acids. Citrusy as hell with a big pithy-like bitterness that tends to peak early and linger long. Small piney whisps around the edges. Malts are there in the back with a toasted caramel backing adding a fairly rounded balance to its overall singe of puckering citrus. One hoppy pale for sure.

Feel is medium bodied with a creamy quick front then followed by crisply thick setting of carbonation. Really takes hold right away with the hops and lingers. Toasted slightly with a big pithy citrus twist. All that and smooth as any cask pulled brew could be. The only thing that hampered its drinkability is its full-on coating of citrusy pith bitterness. I don't think I really tasted my sandwich for lunch as this was what accompanied it.

Photo of illidurit
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: A 12 ounce stubby, the same as those used for the Frank D-IPA. A simple brass colored crown cap sits atop a white screen printed brown glass bottle, which has a home-made presentation about. The reverse printing simply has the Governments usual nanny state warning crap, but the obverse printed label is much more interesting. The front has the words ‘Port Brewing’, with a picture of a Surfer Dude taking the waves. Labeled as “Special Pale Ale”. Strength is listed as 5.8%. No Best Before Date but as this one is a new release I know it is at least fresh.

Appearance: Amber-orange body that is slightly turbid when poured. A lovely off-white almost vanilla colored head quickly rises in my tall Pilsener Urquell flute when poured. The head settles slowly, leaving some lacing and a thick deep rocky mass that holds well. Above average carbonation.

Nose: !!!Wow!!! Quite the impact from this one! Juicy hops and a lovely malt backbone fill the aromas. Fruity in the front end with a sweet malt feel and fresh hops in the back end.

Taste: Starts with a fruity hop entrance. Middle has sweetish malts but these are nicely balanced by the hop-bitterness. Some dry bitterness in the middle proceeds to finish with some citrus orange in the back end which in turn leaves a piney hop oil bitterness lingering in the mouth. Tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel: The smooth feel created by drinking through the ever present creamy head and the above average carbonation, both give a medium to full bodied feel.

Drinkability: Damn lovely this one. A fine Special Pale Ale that benefits from a neatly compacted typical West Coast hop juice finish.

Overall: I first tried this on draft at the 2004 Pizza Port Real Ale Festival, where it impressed me. If my ailing memory is anything to go by, the bottle version is just as good. Worth seeking out and maybe picking up a few 6-Packs of this one!

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of twelveinches
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of muskiesman
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of hopdog
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired in trade with DarkElf (thanks!).

Poured a medium to dark, cloudy amber color with a larger sized off white head. Aromas of pine with grapefruit. Tastes of pine, citrus, and grapefruit. Nice and hoppy with a nice bitter kick at the end. Some malts lurking in the background.

Notes from 5/6/05

Photo of strongaf
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at the Carlsbad location in Dec. 2003.

This pale ale poured a clear amber color with white foam that settled but clung to the glass. The smell was a good, strong, fruity hop aroma with some background malt. The taste was very hoppy (fruity hops) but was nicely balanced by sweet malt. There was a bit of floral hop flavor as well. The aftertaste was dry and hoppy. The body was medium with low carbonation feel. The feel was a little sweet up front but with a very hoppy, dry finish. This was a very nice and easily drinkable pale ale and especially smooth on cask.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz stubby. Pours a solid golden color with a finger and half of head that falls fairly quickly after a solid pour, leaving a half finger over top. Clarity is good, with the lightest haze in there, and a very vigorous carbonation keeps streaming from the bottom of the glass. Nose is sweet orange and grapefruit mixed together, sweet and tart, there is a mild caramel base underneath, but the citrus notes are king in this one. I like it a lot, as its sweet but still a little sassy with the grapefruit tinge, and hint of bitterness on the end. Flavor is right with the nose. After taking a sip, I get a hit of hop bitterness that moves towards a the sweet citrusy hop flavor with just a touch of caramel underlying the hop. It finishes very clean, with a moderate bitter and very nice grapefruit and orange citrus as it lingers on my tongue. I like the contrast between the sweet and mildly tart citrus character from the hop, the light caramel malt and the clean bitter. This is a tasty beer. Feel is right at moderate with a moderate carbonation made of small bubbles. I enjoy the nice, small bubbles, as it breaks up the moderate body without taking it away completely. This beer is not lasting long in my glass. I think the aftertaste is as good as the flavor when sipping it. The flavor just seems to last, without fading. Excellent APA.

Photo of beerguy101
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An extra hopped Pale Ale. Medium pale brown color. Aroma is malty and hoppy. A medium bodied pale ale. Malts are nutty and slightly sweet. Hops are very prominent and grapefruity. Well balanced. Nice flavor. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stubby silk screened bottle with a cool surfer image. Brewed and bottled in Carlsbad. Pours from the bottle a nice deep amber orange with a half inch of creamy, bubbly off white head on top accentuated by strings of lace. Aromas are an upfront blast of heady grapefruity, tropical, citric hops with some rich pine sap. Fresh, whole green leafy hops come to mind as the resinous aromas reach my nose. A sweet caramelly background is present but the beautiful, bountiful hops steal the show. Very enjoyable to simply sit and smell.

First sip brings upfront melding of vibrant citrusy, piney hops. There's a sweet caramel, slightly bready malty background that attempts to hold it's own against the hoppy onslaught. Awesome interplay between the grapefruity hops and the pine notes really make this one enjoyable for me. Finishes with a big smack of vine ripe bitter hops that linger on after each sip. A damn tasty brew...very Special indeed. Way more of an IPA than an APA....and a outstanding IPA at that.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with light compact carbonation that gives the brew a creamy feeling. Very easy to drink I would not mind a session of these at all. I wish I had easier access to this brew as it'd be a staple in my fridge. Chalk up another win for the brewers at Pizza Port Carlsbad...I will have to savor my last 2 bottles.

Photo of tbone1384
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of augustgarage
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse - June 14th, 2010 - served in a nonic.

Clear golden liquid with a touch of amber, capped by a solid finger of dense foam. Light sandy lacing uniformly rings the glass.

Passion fruit, sugar-cane, grapefruit, and a hint of tropical fruit in the nose. Aromatics are bursting with fruit-forward hops. Lovely.

Fresh citrusy hops on the palate undergirded by pale malt. Mid-palate, the hops turn herbal and earthy - in the finish, they transform into a vaguely peppery minty accent to a lingering malt note. A fantastic session beer - one of the better APAs I've sampled.

Light-bodied but with a good foundation (I almost used the wine-tasting term, "structure" - but that doesn't really apply here).

Lighter than an IPA but stronger than many APAs - this is chock full of flavor and well worth seeking out.

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Special Pale Ale (SPA) from Pizza Port Solana Beach
91 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.