Sure, Belgium has Trappist-monastic breweries that sell beer to pay for their goofy robed-monkish pleasures. The closest thing to that in California are the five Pizza Port locations that dot the SoCal coastline. The institution was started in the late eighties by brother and sister combo Gina and Vince Marsaglia…back when craft beer was largely imported German and Belgian beers with a few “microbreweries.” Oh have times changed.
One thing that hasn’t changed much is Pizza Port, whose no-frills pies and wings are rarely Instagrammed by the foodie crowd, yet are eaten like some sort of surfer soul food. The real draw with Pizza Port is no doubt their house beers which have won a combined 129 medals at GABF and the World Beer Cup over the last twenty-four years…an insane number to say the least.
As their San Clemente location can be quite the haul from north county, I find their fresh six-packs of pint cans to be quite the steal at around $14, considering a four-pack of hazy IPA can go upwards of $25. My local store (shout out to Veeco in Anaheim) is a stunning hotbed of hazy, yet I usually gravitate to a sixer of fresh Pizza Port Swamis IPA. This week I found their latest seasonal for the September-December quarter called Fish IPA, an IPA named after a common surfboard.
Fish IPA has Pizza Port written all over it with a distinct house character – dry, hoppy as all hell, and balanced with bitter. Fish is hopped with Citra, Centennial, Simcoe and Pacific Jade – a rainbow blend of citrus, dank, and tropical. The malts include 2-row, flaked rice to lighten the body, and carafoam to beef up the sudsy head when poured.
One reason to get down to Pizza Port San Clemente this weekend is the tenth-annual Hoptoberfest, where from October 12th-14th you can indulge in all things hoppy; either 4oz or full pours from the following breweries:
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest. When not writing about, photographing or filming beer, cocktails, and food, he can be found talking trash while playing video games under the name “OCBeer.”