In the realm of “state-of-the-art” IPAs dominated by hazy, sweeter, and late-hop-focused brews, Pizza Port’s Solana Beach IPA stands as a clear outlier. Poured into a specialty glass, this 16 oz. canned delight, marking Pizza Port Solana Beach’s 30th Anniversary, exhibits a bright golden hue with crystal clarity. The rocky, enduring head and vigorous carbonation add to its visual allure, emphasizing the beer’s meticulous craftsmanship.


The straightforward aroma opens with notes of sweet orange and tangerine, a familiar greeting that leads to a more nuanced olfactory experience. As the beer warms, scents of lemon zest, key lime pie, vanilla whipped cream, and lemon iced pound cake emerge, contributing layers to the sensory exploration. This nostalgic fragrance mirrors the legacy of Pizza Port Solana Beach’s brewing history.


Diving into the flavor profile, the Solana Beach IPA maintains the distinctive Pizza Port character with a robust, chewy foundation. A swift onslaught of wicked bitterness, reminiscent of the brewery’s signature style, immediately takes center stage. White alcohol notes, indicative of its 7% ABV, make a fleeting appearance before being overtaken by an assertive kettle hop character. The beer’s aggressive nature aligns with Pizza Port IPA standards, while the clean malt base introduces biscuity, doughy, and chewy notes, resembling the comforting texture of pizza crust.


With high carbonation and the absence of specialty malt, the Solana Beach IPA achieves a bright and refreshing quality that sets it apart. While sharing similarities with the popular Swami’s IPA, it carves its own path with a sharper, more bitter profile, complemented by a cleaner and snappier body. Despite a slightly higher ABV, the beer manages to minimize alcohol warming, offering a crisp and satisfying drinking experience. The finish, notably dry with minimal sugar, avoids the pitfalls of astringency or chemical harshness often associated with dry, high-IBU beers.


In essence, the Solana Beach IPA doesn’t bring anything groundbreaking to the table; it’s an ode to the old school, a citrusy hop bomb that harks back to the roots of IPA craftsmanship. Yet, it’s in the execution that this beer truly shines, showcasing decades of IPA mastery from Pizza Port. As a departure from the haze craze and the quest for exotic hop varietals, Solana Beach IPA emerges as an instant classic, a potential flagship beer that encapsulates the best of Pizza Port’s brewing prowess.