Beer Flights – Pizza Port Brewing Carlsbad Beer Review
Of the breweries on my itinerary for Carlsbad, California, I was most excited to visit Pizza Port Brewing. With the company’s 90-plus Great American Beer Festival medals coupled with the fact that Pizza Port Brewery is not widely distributed on the East Coast, you can easily understand why.
Pizza Port Brewing traces its roots back to 1987 when brother and sister team Gina and Vince Marsaglia purchased a struggling pizza parlor in Solana Beach. In his spare time and the extra storage space at the restaurant, Vince began homebrewing. By 1992, his hobby transitioned into part of the business, and the siblings began offering in-house crafted beer alongside their pies.
Today, Pizza Port Brewing celebrates five locations throughout Southern California. Each has its own head brewer with autonomy to brew whatever they want (the bigger production stuff is done in the larger Bressi Ranch production brewery). This setup makes a visit to each Pizza Port Brewing unique in its own right as you taste the influences of the local team.
I sat down to a flight with Carlsbad’s head brewer Mike Aubuchon. Aubuchon draws influences both from San Diego and Germany. “Easy drinking and easy on body” is how Aubuchon describes his beers.
Kick Flip Kolsch
ABV – 4.5%
A Kolsch brewed so true to form that Aubuchon brought the yeast strain back from Germany on one of his pilgrimages. The beer pours clear and pale yellow with biscuity malts on top of hints of apple and pear over a bed of floral hops. It finishes clean and crisp. A good patio sipper.
ABV – 5%
Once again, Aubuchon’s love of German lagers shines forth. The pour is clear and golden and greets you with a bouquet of hay and grassy hops. The taste brings bready malts with more overtures of hay and grass along with hints of citrus on the inviting finish. The MG-42 Pilsner would pair perfectly with one of Pizza Port Brewing’s spicier pies.
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Hand Shaped IPA
ABV – 6.5%
Admittedly, the Hand Shaped IPA fell a little too far to the dank side for me as did many other IPAs I sampled in San Diego. That doesn’t make this a bad beer, just not one for my palate. Hand Shaped is light bodied with plenty of West Coast hops like Citra, Cenntenial, Mosaic, and Cascade. It’s earthy with piney and citrus notes.
ABV – 5%
Unique coffee brown ale brewed in collaboration Steady State Coffee Roasters. Because the beer is brewed with cascara coffee cherries, you don’t get typical coffee flavors. Instead, I picked of pipe tobacco, black cherry, and caramel.
48 Hours in Carlsbad, California. What to see, eat and drink.
Koa Warrior Imperial Stout
ABV – 11%
I like to describe Koa Warrior as dessert in glass. Brewed with toasted coconut, toasted macadamia nuts, and Hawaiian coffee, it reminded me of one of those cookies you pick up at an Italian wedding. You have no idea what the hell it is, or what’s in it, but you stick a few in your pockets for later. Rich, nutty, tropical, and delicious.
Barrel Roll Imperial Milk Stout
ABV – 11%
Barrel Roll is an imperial milk stout brewed with roasted coffee that was aged in bourbon barrels. There was a very slight booziness to the beer with bright coffee over vanilla and sweet chocolate. Each flavor blended well together with a creamy mouthfeel that made the beer way too easy to drink.
If you find yourself in the San Diego area, do venture north to visit a Pizza Port Brewing branch or two. Each will deliver a unique craft beer experience with some amazing pizza.
Want to go on a similar trip?
What I liked most about Carlsbad is it combined the idyllic climate and craft beer that Southern California is known for in a much more digestible format than San Diego. I stayed at the Sheraton Carlsbad. While it wasn’t on the ocean, it had great views, a heated infinity pool (great for late night dips), and close proximity to LEGOLAND. Other Carlsbad resorts worth considering are the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort for the views and the golf course and Cape Rey Carlsbad for its oceanfront location.
Visit Carlsbad sponsored my trip. As always, my opinions remain my own.
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