Special Pale Ale (SPA) | Pizza Port Solana Beach

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Special Pale Ale (SPA)Special Pale Ale (SPA)
44 Ratings
Special Pale Ale (SPA)Special Pale Ale (SPA)

Brewed by:
Pizza Port Solana Beach
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beerguy101 on 09-15-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 |  Reviews: 32
Photo of oggg
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Multiple tastings

This orange hued pale ale has been such a success they've started bottling it. Citrus aroma leans towards orangey, not grapefruity. They say it's made with Amarillo. Brief fizz, nice hop bite, then JUICY citrus hop flavor. Just gorgeous. Then a tremendous warming wave of grainy malt surges in. Quite lovely. Finish is lightly dry. Medium bodied.

Overall: An intensely drinkable, JUICY, pale ale.

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out nice copper color, same as on tap. Although the head was huge out of the bottle. Left some lacing in glass. Citrus aroma, with some orange some grapefruit. Taste most excellent Lemon, grapefruit, some orange appears at the end. With hop and citrus bitterness lasting thoughout the experience. Some malt and caramel protrude in the end, for a fantastic finish. Medium body, smooth and creamy. Overall an excellent example of a nicely brewed APA, hats off to the Pizza Port brewers. I had the chance to visit all three, last week. Highly recommend if in southern California. Cheers

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Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of twelveinches
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of DefenCorps
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Boolshot for this bottle.

Pours a golden-orange color with a massive, Belgian like, off-white head. Huge freakin' head for a pale ale. Lots of chunky, sticky lacing. Bunch of floaties. Steady streams of bubbles throughout the glass.

Aroma reminds me of caramel apples, with some citric hops as well. Very interesting smell.

The taste balanced really well between the malts and hops. Caramel and citrus hops with a bit of a yeasty, earthy funk to it. Definately different APA.

Mouthfeel is good with lots of carbonation. Very crisp and clean. Makes me want some pizza. I could easily finish a six-pack of these.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.32/5  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.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
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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Photo of tempest
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of nflmvp
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Boolshot for this sample...wish I had more than one.

Poured a rusty orange with a HUGE head that took forever to dissipate.

Citrusy nose that was very enticing, especially to a guy who is admittedly NOT a hop head.

Taste was also VERY citrusy and a little sweet I was VERY pleased at the taste of this....again, for a guy who is NOT very into hops.

Drinkability was very good and again, I wish I had another. This one is going down to quickly and I'll be looking for a second when it's gone.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a light hazed, semi golden-orange color. Very minimal off white head flared for a moment then receeded quickly. Only small wisps remain.

S: Lightly malty with a lot of grapefruit, kind bud and a touch of strawberry.

T: Starts off with a nice toasted sweetness. Moves slowly to malty watermelon flavor. Finishes with grapefruit that lingers for quite a while.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation neither helps nor hinders the beer.

D: Yep, this is a quaffer. Very nice indeed.

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Photo of strongaf
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of ryanpj
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of muskiesman
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of SethB2
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a dirty orange color, very cloudy, with no head to speak of.

S - Hoppy up front, but also a plenty of roasted grain. Burnt honey sweetness comes through as well.

T - Rating within it's style, I don't see how the taste can be any better. Hoppy with a very strong malt profile. Approaching IPA categorization, but not quite there. Strong and very flavorful. Well done.

M - Takes a major ding here for not having much carbonation. It has a medium body, but the lack of bubbles make this seem borderline watery.

D - Good. I'd love to be able to find this in Northern California.

Thanks to westsidethreat for the chance to try this.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of hopdog
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of SShelly
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the goat.

Pale yellow, with a nice frothy head.

Light fruit and hops in the nose, nothing overpowering but very pleasant.

mild hops and lightly bitter, cask is pouring a touch cold, letting it warm up brings out more bright hops, and bitterness.

Satisfyingly refreshing, somewhere in bewtween a pale ale and an ipa, pretty darn tasty altogether.

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Photo of oberon
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of MeanMotaScootah
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

this is a solid west coast pale ale. I have to say that the Pizza Port beers that I've tried all seem to have very similar hop/yeast profiles. I would love to see them make some beers that don't taste so similar.

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Special Pale Ale (SPA) from Pizza Port Solana Beach
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 44 ratings